Virtual 4th National Conference of Chemical Laboratories Successfully Held

The Integrated Chemists of the Philippines (ICP) succesfully hosted the 4th National Conference of Chemical Laboratories (NCCL) last 23-25 November 2020 with the theme “New Normal, New Solutions”. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 4th edition of the NCCL was held virtually for the first time via Cisco Webex. Over a thousand participants from various parts of the country and even from other parts of the world seized the opportunity to attend the virtual conference to update themselves of the latest news and regulations regarding the practice of the chemistry profession in the Philippines. ICP President Dr Fabian Dayrit, in his opening remarks, warmly welcomed the participants and stressed the important service chemical laboratories provide despite the pandemic.

The conference started off with the major feature and much anticipated portion of the NCCL: a meeting and discussion between the Board of Chemistry (BOC) and representatives of chemical laboratories. Dr Soledad Castaneda updated the audience regarding the country’s career progression and specialization program for chemistry professionals. Meanwhile, Dr Adoracion Resurreccion gave an update on the continuing professional development. And lastly, Ms Theresa Cayton presented the status of inspection of chemical laboratories that the BOC conducted this past year. After a lunch gap, Dr Annabelle Briones (Industrial Technology Development Institute, Department of Science and Technology, DOST) talked on OneLab, a network of DOST-affiliated laboratories. Ms Rose Mylene Sotocinal (Department of Health, DOH) explained the new DOH guidelines on the accreditation of laboratories that conduct drinking water analysis. To end the 4th NCCL’s first day, Dr Bonifacio Magtibay (Regional Office for Western Pacific, World Health Organization, WHO) gave a talk on the WHO’s guidelines on the preparation of disinfectants.

The second day started off with twin updates from the Philippine Accreditation Bureau (PAB) and Environmental Management Bureau (EMB). Mr Marlon Macadamia (PAB) announced that PAB would be conducting remote assessment of chemical laboratories to addess the physical distancing guidelines during this pandemic. Meanwhile, Mr Roger Evangelista (EMB) informed the participants regarding the latest news on EMB’s efforts to minimize waste and the procedures that the laboratories must take in order for their generated waste to be properly disposed of. Live and direct from Singapore, Ms Wee Siew Moi (Nestle Singapore) gave a lecture on the latest techniques in detecting chemical contaminants present in the environment and food. Meanwhile, Major Carmelo Velasco (Philippine National Police) provided the latest news regarding the sale and use of explosives, and Ms Judy Olvido (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency) tackled on regulations on essential and precursor chemicals.

The highlight of this year’s NCCL was the sharing of best practices of chemical laboratories in the new normal, conducted on the third and final day. Mr Alvin Basco (Ostrea Laboratories), Ms Maria Carmela Capule (CRL Environmental Corporation), and Ms Edna Mijares (Jefcor Laboratories) provided their respective laboratories’ stringent measures in implementing distancing regulations while at work and their protocols in how to handle COVID-19 positive individuals while at work.

In her closing remarks, ICP Vice-President for External Affairs Ms Edna Mijares underscored the utmost cooperation of each chemistry professional and their collective role in improving the state of the country’s chemistry profession as we all safely navigate through this pandemic and embark on a new normal.

Now on its fourth year, the NCCL aims to provide chemistry professionals the relevant updates on various chemical regulations and be a venue for sharing best practices among professionals and laboratories.

ICP’s Cordillera Chapter Officially Launched

The Integrated Chemists of the Philippines (ICP) continues to expand its membership base as it welcomes the ICP Cordillera Administrative Region (ICP-CAR) Chapter.

The chapter’s launch was held via Zoom on 17 October 2020 and was graced by ICP National Chapter President Dr Fabian Dayrit and Vice-President for External Affairs Ms Edna Mijares. Also gracing the launch was ICP Region 3 Chapter President Ms Maria Carmela Capule, who served as the catalyst in the formation of the said chapter by reaching out to registered chemists and registered chemical technicians based in Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, and Mountain Province.

During the virtual launch, the inaugural set of officers of the ICP-CAR Chapter were inducted by Dr Dayrit. The chapter officers are:

President: Jasmin Lee-Donaal
Vice-President: Angeline O. Marino
Secretary: Melanie S. Manuel
Treasurer: Rowena Canlas
Auditor: John Patrick Dela Cruz
Public Information Officer: Jenika Lou Javier
Board Members: Gina Claire Bentican, Erahem Medz Cabural, Ma. Cecilia Bucasas

In his remarks, Dr Dayrit applauded Ms Capule for her initiative in forming the ICP-CAR Chapter. He highlighted the importance of chemistry in regional and national development, and stressed that effective membership drive and publicity are integral in the development of chemistry professionals in the academe, government, and industry in the said area. Ms Lee-Donaal, in her brief message, said that her administration is up to the challenge to support and attain the vision and mission of the ICP in her jurisdiction.

Congratulations and welcome to the ICP family, ICP-CAR Chapter! Let us all work together for the benefit of all registered chemistry professionals and the improvement of the state of chemistry in the region!

ICP Welcomes New Regional Chapter in SOCCSKSARGEN

To cater to the needs of the growing number of chemical laboratories and chemistry professionals in the SOCCSKSARGEN Region (Region XII), the Integrated Chemists of the Philippines (ICP) formally established its thirteenth and newest regional chapter through a virtual general assembly via Zoom on 17 November 2020 with the theme ICP: Emerging Bonds in the New Normal.

On the same occasion, the new chapter, which will now be called ICP-Region XII (ICP-SOX), officially ratified its constitution and by-laws and articles of incorporation. The interim chapter headed by Mr. Frederick John Navarro, credited the successful establishment of ICP-SOX to joint efforts and the generous assistance of the ICP National leadership, the ICP IX/X/XII/ARMM/CARAGA Chapter, and especially to the ICP Southern Mindanao (ICP-SoMin) Chapter, where most of the members of ICP-SOX were originally from.

In her opening remarks, Ms. Christine Marie M. Tupaz, ICP-SoMin chapter president, explained the rationale of the establishment of the new chapter, which is primarily to assist the Professional Regulation Commission’s Board of Chemistry in the inspection of chemical laboratories for the issuance of certificate of authority to operate (CATO). Ms. Tupaz further stated that the formation of the new chapter is a means of empowering the growing number of ICP members from Region XII.

“With such talented, competent, and dedicated people, it cannot be helped that they themselves will be capable enough to form a new chapter,” added Ms. Tupaz.

In his message, ICP National President Dr. Fabian Dayrit extended his congratulations to the members of the new chapter.
According to Dr. Dayrit, they “are really happy that the new chapter that’s being founded has started while fulfilling [one of] the objectives of the chemistry law, which is to strengthen chemistry laboratories […] to ensure that the quality of the chemistry laboratories is maintained at a very high level.”

Ms. Edna Mijares, the ICP National Vice President for External Affairs, and Mr. Higinio R. Barros Jr, the president of ICP IX/X/XII/ARMM/CARAGA Chapter, also extended felicitations and committed their continued support for ICP-SOX.

In the same assembly, the members also nominated candidates for the chapter’s Board of Directors and officers of the associate members for the online elections on November 18-20, 2020 which was facilitated by the COMELEC composed of members of ICP-SoMin Board of Directors.

The event also highlighted a brief socialization activity in the form of a virtual raffle draw, and brief product presentations by the event sponsors, which helped keep the balance among fun, information, and the order of business.

The assembly was participated in by over forty registered chemists and chemical technicians. True to its theme, the event had showcased how it is possible for new bonds to emerge amidst the new normal.

Maribel Nonato is 2020 Outstanding Chemist

The Integrated Chemists of the Philippines (ICP), the accredited professional organization of registered chemists and registered chemical technicians in the country, has the honor of announcing that the Outstanding Chemist of 2020, bestowed by the Professional Regulation Commission, is awarded to Dr Maribel Nonato.

Dr Nonato is one of the country’s leading researchers in the field of medicinal plants chemistry and natural products. She obtained her PhD in Organic Chemistry with specialization in Natural Products Chemistry from the University of Wollongong in Australia in 1993. She also received post-doctoral fellowships at Chiba University (Japan), University of Strathclyde (Scotland), University of Queensland (Australia), and University of Wollongong. She has collaborated with prominent international professors and researchers, published numerous papers and articles on natural products and plant metabolites and presented them in numerous local and international scientific conferences.

Little was known before about pandan as there was barely any previous studies or scientific references about it. To most people, pandan is simply a flavoring agent to certain dishes, nothing more. It was this uncharted territory that Dr Nonato focused her attention on. So in 1991 she started conducting extensive research on Pandanus species endemic to the Philippines, and has been a pioneer in the field ever since. She has explored the chemical and biological potentials of the natural products found in pandan which led to the discovery of its many medicinal attributes. Intensive studies on the plant has found it as a potential source of anti-microbials, antiviral substances, diuretics, antioxidants, as well as anti-inflammatory and antitubercular agents. Her research on novel Pandanus alkaloids paved the way for other countries in the Southeast Asian region to conduct studies on their own variants of pandan. This passion for pandan has earned her the moniker “Pandan Queen” and a new pandan species recently discovered in Quezon province, Freycinetia nonatoi, was named in her honor.

Dr Nonato is a loyal Thomasian through and through. At present, she is the Vice-Rector for Research and Innovation of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) in Manila, where she graduated with BSc (1978) and MSc (1986) degrees in chemistry. In addition to being one of UST’s respected administrators, she is also a chemistry professor at its College of Science where she served as college dean from 2008 to 2012 and a researcher at the university’s Research Center for the Natural and Applied Sciences. A proud teacher, Dr Nonato also served as a class adviser to numerous batches of UST’s undergraduate chemistry majors and mentored many students as their research adviser.

Dr Nonato has always been committed in improving the quality of chemistry research and education in the country. Since 2009, she serves as a member of the technical committee for chemistry of the Commission on Higher Education. She is the incumbent president of the Natural Products Society of the Philippines and the Asia-Pacific regional coordinator of the Phytochemical Society of Asia. She also was editor of Acta Manilana (2000-2007) and a paper evaluator for the scientific journals Kimika and the Philippine Journal of Science. In addition, Dr Nonato served as board member (2006-2009) of the Kapisanang Kimika ng Pilipinas; president (2000-2016) of the Organic Chemistry Teachers’ Association; and secretary (2000-2006), vice-president (2006-2008) and president (2008-2012) of the Philippine Federation of Chemistry Societies.

Dr Nonato is no stranger to awards and accolades for her accomplishments. Some of her noteworthy recognitions include: the National Research Council of the Philippines Achievement Award in Chemical Sciences (2007); the Dr. Gregorio Y. Zara Award for Basic Science Research (2016); and the Philippine Federation of Chemistry Societies’ Shimadzu Award for Chemical Research (2017). She has also received annual recognitions from UST for her commendable teaching performance, achievements in research and publication, and various roles and capacities in national scientific organizations. In May 2020, Dr Nonato was elected as an academician of the country’s National Academy of Science and Technology.

This year’s Outstanding Chemist is a stalwart of the chemistry profession, and her relentless dedication to research and love for teaching serve as proof of her stellar career. Congratulations Dr Maribel Nonato, the ICP is truly proud of you!

ICP SoMin Conducts 16th General Assembly Online

The Integrated Chemists of the Philippines (ICP) Southern Mindanao Chapter, under the leadership of its chapter president Ms Christine Marie Tupaz, successfully organized their 16th General Assembly with the theme “ICP-SoMin Moving Forward In These Challenging Times” last 10 August 2020. The event was attended by 58 of its members and had to be conducted virtually through Zoom due to physical distancing regulations brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Joining the said event were ICP National President Dr Fabian Dayrit and Vice-President for External Affairs Ms Edna Mijares. Dr Dayrit was amazed at the high number of participants that attended the event; he noted that this manifests a high degree of camaraderie among the chapter’s members and urged them to use the chemistry profession as a tool to serve the community well. Ms Mijares likewise stressed the important role of chemists and chemical technicians during the pandemic and reminded the attendees to always act in accordance to pre-existing laws.

The assembly’s main agenda focused on the Career Progression Program for chemistry professionals, as discussed by Ms Krizelle Pamplona, member of the chapter’s board of directors. This program would align the country’s registered chemists and registered chemical technicians to international standards, particularly to neighboring countries in the ASEAN region, for a seamless career and employment transition. Dr Dayrit and Ms Mijares shed light and valuable insights to significant concerns raised by the attendees on this matter.

Chapter treasurer Ms Luzviminda Ranay gave her annual Treasurer’s Report, which showed how the funds were properly allocated for the year and provided plans on how to raise the financial standing of the chapter during the pandemic. Ms Tupaz also gave the President’s Report, detailing the activities conducted in the previous year and planned events in the near future. She also included an update on the status of chemical laboratories in the region and nearby localities which have applied for certificates of authority to operate and echoed other reminders that the Board of Chemistry reported during the 9th Annual Meeting of ICP Chapters. The assembly was also the time to ratify the chapter’s Updated Articles and By-Laws. In addition, an overview of the initial plans for an ICP chapter covering the areas of South Cotabato, Saranggani, and General Santos was also revealed. Interim officers are already in place to work for the initial phase on what would be ICP’s newest regional chapter.

It was not all work though, as the attendees were treated with raffle prizes in between segments which definitely brought further joy and a semblance of the old normal to the assembly.

Though the event had not been held physically, it was still just as fun and informative, enough proof that the closeness of the chapter’s members is unbreakable. Congratulations to ICP SoMin for a successful and historic virtual 16th General Assembly!