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PIA Press Release

MIRDC upgrades facilities to strengthen fire prevention

By Marlyn Ramones

Quezon City (13 May) -- Fires caused by liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinder have been quite common in the country. From 1995 to 2000, the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) reported a total of 1,475 LPG-caused fire incidents throughout the country. From 2004 to 2008, BFP again recorded 756 fires caused by LPG tank explosions.

According to the LPG Association of the Philippines, half of the 12 million LPG tanks in the country today are not fit for public use. The group also estimates that out of the six million unfit LPG tanks, three million are for scrapping and could no longer be fixed. Another three million are for requalification or for inspection and certification by concerned government agencies

An LPG tank explodes and causes fire when it has considerable leak. This leak, which may emanate from the hose or from the burner, bursts once the LPG is ignited. Thus, ensuring the safety of LPG cylinders becomes of utmost importance in preventing fire, particularly in high density household areas.

The Metals Industry Research and Development Center (MIRDC), an ISO/IEC 17025 accredited laboratory by the Department of Trade and Industry's Philippine Accreditation Office (PAO), has upgraded its fire prevention facilities to address the growing problem on LPG-related fires. Among the tests conducted by MIRDC on LPG cylinders are radiographic, tension and bending, and bursting.

The radiographic testing detects internal welding defects of the weld joint portion of the LPG cylinder. It is exposed to radiation with attached film using an industrial X-ray of 300 kVA capacity.

Tension testing involves determining the tensile properties of both materials and weld joints (tensile strength, yield strength, and elongation) using test samples machined to specified dimensions, while bend testing determines ductility of the weld joint. Both tests are done using a Universal Testing Machine (UTM).

Meanwhile, in the bursting test, the finished LPG cylinder is subjected to a very high pressure using a hydraulic system. A burst testing equipment is used to prove that the LPG cylinder will not rapture up to at least four times its designed pressure.

These testing processes employed by the MIRDC are in accordance with the Philippine National Standard (PNS).

LPG cylinders require mandatory certification issued by DTI's Bureau of Product Standards (BPS) for local manufacturers and importers. The local manufacturers are required to secure Product Safety (PS) mark, while importers have to secure the Import Commodity Clearance (ICC).

Recently, MIRDC's facilities and expertise in providing technical requirements were featured in ABS-CBN's morning television program Umagang Kay Ganda in collaboration with the DTI-BPS.

RP now has tech transfer law; DOST lauds passage

By Edge Ganciagan, S&T Media Service, PCARRD

Quezon City (13 May) -- A proposed bill that seeks to roll out mature and potentially important technologies generated by government-funded researches to the market was finally enacted into law recently after almost three years into legislation.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed Republic Act 10055, otherwise known as "An Act Providing the Framework and Support System for the Ownership, Management, Use, and Commercialization of Intellectual Property Generated from Research and Development Funded by Government and for Other Purposes" or the "Philippine Technology Transfer Act of 2009" into a full fledged national statute on March 23 at the Malacańan Palace.

The new law is expected to serve as the blueprint for a nationally coordinated technology transfer framework of government-funded researches.

Department of Science and Technology Secretary Estrella Alabastro said that the whole science community is overwhelmed with this development.

"We are optimistic that this new law, a landmark policy on technology transfer will revolutionize the commercialization of technologies generated by researches funded by taxpayer's money," Sec. Alabastro said.

The enactment came after Congress approved in December 2009 the Senate version, Senate Bill 3416, authored by Sen. Edgardo J. Angara and co-authored by Senators Manuel Roxas II and Loren Legarda. Senators Pia Cayetano, Gregorio Honasan, Panfilo Lacson, Aquilino Pimentel, Jinggoy Estrada and Juan Miguel Zubiri also served as co-sponsors.

At the House of Representatives, Cavite 1st District Rep. Joseph Emilio A. Abaya was at the forefront of the Bill's passage and served as its principal author. Angara and Abaya chair the Committees on Science and Technology at the Senate and House of Representatives, respectively.

Speaking at PCARRD (Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development) recently, Sec. Alabastro expressed optimism of the law's merit in uptaking technologies to the market as well as preventing brain drain and out migration of S&T professionals, and encouraging students to pursue R&D studies.

A key provision in the law provides for incentives to researchers by according them share in the royalties as well as allowing them put up their own start up companies.

The law was Sec. Alabastro's brainchild, having recognized the need for a national backbone and framework that would push technology generation and application to its maximum potential through efficient and coordinated transfer capability and intellectual property assertions around the country, similar to the Bayh-Dole Act in the US.

The S&T czar also lauded President Arroyo and Congress for taking into account such a much-needed legislation for the science and technology sector.

Alabastro explained that taking advantage of the new law would hasten the process of technology commercialization and broadens the scope of protection of intellectual property rights in government RDIs.

"For the longest time, we rely mostly on breakthroughs from outside, while our local technologies generated through public funds remain untapped or archived in laboratories around the country. Hence, this is a significant break for us to roll this out to the market and be availed by the public," she added.

Once fully in place, the new law is expected to provide the mechanism to allow important technologies to be commercialized and be made available to the public.

Dr. Patricio S. Faylon, PCARRD Executive Director, meanwhile expressed elation with this development. He described this as a leap for the inter-agency policy advocacy collaboration and a feat in the Council's policy development and advocacy mandate relating to S&T development.

PCARRD, the central planning council of DOST in the agriculture, forestry and natural resources has led the Department's efforts in the Bill's legislative advocacy and public awareness activities since 2006.

Meanwhile, the technical and financial support given by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) of the Philippines, DOST Planning and Evaluation Service, and DOST councils and institutes were instrumental in the legislative advocacy of the law. Currently, DOST and IPO are preparing the basis for the Act's implementing rules and regulation (IRR). (DOST) [top]

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