6 Heroic Engineers, Scientists honored on Philippine Day of Valor

Six Filipino engineers and scientists are being honored today, Philippine Day of
Valor with the Prize for Engineering Excellence (The Prize).

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An agricultural engineer, three chemical engineers, and two engineering professors are being feted as modern-day heroes who used their skills to innovate and empower Filipino communities.

The Prize is given by the Manila Water Foundation to encourage engineers who work for social good. Here are the 6 heroic engineers and scientists:

1. Scientists for Filipino Farmers. Among our modern-day heroes is Dr. Ricardo Orge, a son of a coconut farmer from Leyte. Growing up, he saw his father experienced hardships and received little help. This pushed him to dedicate his work for the betterment of Filipino farmers. As an agricultural engineer at the Philippine Rice Research Institute, he was able to invent technologies that improve the processes involved in farming and support alternative livelihood for rice farmers. Through his invention, the Continuous-type Rice Hull Carbonizer, farmer cooperatives in Nueva Ecija and Bulacan were able to cut their expenses and dependence on fossil fuels and used renewable energy generated from the machine to fast track the process needed for their mushroom business.

2. Helping farmers is also an advocacy of Dr. Rex Demafelis, a professor and a chemical engineer. When the planting of sugar cane was reduced in Negros Occidental, a lot of farmers lost their jobs which meant less to no income for their families. Championing projects on alternative energy, he introduced sweet sorghum as a substitute crop to be planted in some areas in Sagay City. With the backing of the local government, hundreds of sugar cane farmers were given jobs through his project which at the same time provided a more sustainable source of raw material for ethanol production.

3. Chemical Engineer Against Poverty. Poverty alleviation through job creation is also Dr. Evelyn Taboada’s ulterior motive in conducting her research and project on high-value products derived from mango wastes. Seeing an opportunity from the tons of mango wastes being trashed by local factories, Dr. Taboada spearheaded a team of researchers and engineers who worked on converting these wastes into high-value products such as flour, animal feed, and pectin. The success of their research paved the way for them to construct a processing plant which now employs several individuals who used to pick garbage for a living.

4,5. Scientists for Disaster-Preparedness. Lessening people’s vulnerability to natural catastrophes and taking care of our environment, Dr. Enrico Paringit and Dr. Joel Joseph Marciano, Jr., engineer professors from UP Diliman, worked on projects that will help people prepare for natural calamities. Dr. Paringit used his expertise in surveying and hydrology to create maps that give vital information that can predict possible flooding occurrences and provide early warning designs. On the other hand, Dr. Marciano introduced technologies to communities which allows them to cost-effectively monitor landslide-prone areas.

6. Engineer for Wastewater. Caring for the environment is Dr. Merlinda Palencia’s advocacy. Aside from being a chemical engineer and an educator, she is also the proponent of VIgormin, a powder-like substance which helps clean wastewater before introducing it back to bodies of water. She has been involved in the rehabilitation of Boracay through her partnership with Globe and Manila Water Foundation (MWF).

The Prize was first given out in 2015 to notable engineers who deserve to be recognized not only for their technologies but also for their valor.

Entries to The Prize are being accepted until June 28, 2019.

Visit https://manilawaterfoundation.org/mwf-prize-engineering-excellence to learn more about the Prize or http://bit.ly/2019EngineeringExcellence to download forms.

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