Habemus Chimista! Pope Francis is a Chemist

Written by Peter Tenido (Licensed Chemist, ICP Member; DLSU Part-time Faculty)

The white smoke used to signal the end of papal conclave is produced from a mixture of potassium chlorate, lactose, and rosin, a natural amber resin obtained from conifers.  The white “fumata” that emerged from the Sistine Chapel chimney on March 13 hailed the election of Jorge Bergoglio, Argentien cardinal, and Bishop of Buenos Aires, as new pope and leader of the worldwide Catholic Church.  He is the first pope to choose the name Francis (drawing connections to Francis of Assisi and Francis Xavier), the first non-European pontiff in nearly 1300 years, the first Latin American pope, and the first Jesuit pope.  He prefers keeping a low profile and is known for his simplicity and humility, choosing to use public transport and live in a small apartment.

Interestingly, the new pope Francis was initially a chemist by training.  He graduated from a technical secondary school as a chemical technician and then, at the age of 21, decided to become a priest.  He has a master’s degree in chemistry at the University of Buenos Aires, and was ordained a priest in 1969.  The coming days will, no doubt, reveal more about the new pope’s views on important social issues, and his views on scientific progress in the 21st century (given his early scientific training) will surely prove interesting to follow.

The ICP Chemical Safety Program: Moving from Theory to Practice


In celebration of the Chemistry Week, the Integrated Chemists of the Philippines conducted a two-day training workshop on “Preparation of Chemical Safety Manual” at the Makati Palace Hotel last February 11-12, 2013. This workshop is part of the continuing Chemical Safety campaign of the ICP.

The objective of this workshop was to train the participants to prepare their institution’s chemical safety manual.  The 62 participants, who came from the industry, government and academe, included researchers, analysts, faculty members, safety officers, laboratory technicians and regulatory officers.

The resource speakers are Ms. Tessie B. Corpuz of TERECOR Environmental Health and Safety Consultancy Services and Dr. Glenn Alea from the Chemistry Department, De La Salle University.

There were four topics presented and discussed during the first day. The first topic was on the Safety Manual: what it is, and what its benefits and elements are. The second topic was on the Philippine Occupational Health and Safety Rules as promulgated by the Department of Labor and Employment.

The third topic discussed the use of Gap Analysis as a preparation for developing the institution’s chemical safety manual. Each participant completed the checklist for the gap analysis based on a review of their own institution’s safety programs.  The fourth topic presented the process of how to prepare and write a safety policy.

The workshop was conducted during the second day. The participants were grouped into industry, academe and government sectors, and their respective subsectors. Each group was asked to complete their gap analysis and then describe their proposed action plans and programs to fill the gaps. Finally each group was asked to develop a safety policy  and outline of safety manual and present their outputs.

The ICP plans to follow-up the progress of the participants in its effort to institutionalize chemical safety in the country.

Call for Nominations: Outstanding Chemist of 2013

Every year, the Professional Regulation Commission honors the outstanding professional from each profession during the PRC Week which is held every June. We would like to invite ICP members to nominate individuals for the honor of Outstanding Chemist for 2013.

The criteria for selection include the following:
1.    Professional Competence and Integrity in the exercise of the Chemistry profession
2.    Meaningful participation in professional activities through the professional organization
3.    Significant contributions to the advancement of the Chemistry profession
4.    Evidence of social responsibility through meaningful social activities

The Outstanding Chemist can come from government, industry or academe. The evidence for outstanding performance will depend on the sector where the nominee comes from.

Through the years, we have honored outstanding Chemistry professionals, such as the following:
Dr. Benigno Peczon, Dr. William G. Padolina, Dr. Ester A. Garcia, Dr. Modesto T. Chua, Dr. Fortunato Sevilla III, Dr. Elma C. Llaguno, Ms. Ella Deocadiz, Dr. Aida Aguinaldo, Dr. Alumanda dela Rosa, Dr. Trinidad Trinidad, Dr. Ernesto del Rosario, Gen. Lina Sarmiento, Mr. Fred Reyes, Ms. Teresita Cayton, Dr. Nemesio Montaño.

The PRC announcement and nomination form may be downloaded from the ICP website. The deadline for submission by the nomination committee to PRC is April 2, 2013. However, since the nominees have to be evaluated and endorsed by ICP, the deadline for submission to ICP is March 4, 2013 (Monday).

You may download the nomination form HERE.

Call for Nominations for Member of the Board of Chemistry

The Chemistry profession is regulated by the PRC through the Board of Chemistry. The Board of Chemistry has three (3) members and nominations are being invited for members of the Board.

For the list of complete requirements, click HERE to download the file.

Deadline of submission of entries is on 2 April 2013 (Tuesday).