Visayas Chapters

PIChE Cebu Chapter (June 2021)
Visayas Regional Conference goes virtual, highlights Sustainable Development in VUCA times
By Francis John Jurado

The 3rd PIChE Visayas Reginal Conference (3PVRC) held virtually via the ZOOM Video Communications last April 16-17, 2021 gathered more than 200 chemical engineers in the country discoursing on the theme “Rethinking and Regrounding the Sustainable Development Goals of Chemical Engineering in the Visayas in Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous (VUCA) times.”

Originally planned to happen face-to-face in Cebu on the 16th & 17th of July 2020, the 3PVRC planning that started on the first quarter of 2020 discontinued because of the unfortunate global health crisis. Despite the challenge of hosting a regional event in the middle of a pandemic, the PIChE Cebu Chapter, led by the Conference Chairman, Engr. Jon Paulo Siglos, in coordination and partnership with PIChE Visayas Chapters, pursued to breakthrough a conference with live panel discussion and sessions focusing on bringing to the surface the local manifestations of such global concerns on clean water and sanitation; affordable and clean energy; industry, innovation and infrastructure; and responsible consumption and production by inviting specialized practitioners from diverse fields in the industry, academe, government, and business sectors.

The primary conference objective is to provide a venue for chemical engineers to discuss essential concerns of professional practice in the Visayas, and to compel Visayan chemical engineers (ChEs) to rethink current practices and reground future initiatives for change in relation to Sustainable Development Goals. It is expected that the conference, though virtual, will help participants articulate new insights for initiating technical and non-technical innovations in the workplace and identify concrete opportunities for intersectoral collaboration among Visayan ChEs. During its first day, the opening of the conference was bestowed by warming messages and remarks from Engr. Maricris Vines, the PIChE National President), Engr. Edwin Tan, PIChE Cebu Chapter President, and Engr. Luis Cabatingan, the 3PVRC Program Lead. The keynote address emphasized on Rationalizing the National Programs for meeting the UN SDGs delivered by the Assistant Secretary for Policy and Planning for National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Mr. Carlos Abad Santos. The morning program ended with the first plenary session on the Clean Water and Sanitation Agenda by Engr. Cindylyn Pepito of the Environmental Management Bureau Region 7, which was then followed by a series of plenary discussions by Dr. Angelo Cabije of the University of San Carlos (USC), Engr. Erl Nichol Tabuco of the Manila Water Philippine Ventures, and Engr. Aladino Abulencia of the Mach Union Water Laboratory.

On the afternoon plenary session, Engr. Miguel Trenuela from the Department of Energy shared the plans and programs of the government sector under the Affordable and Clean Energy Agenda in the Visayas. Academic exchange of ideas during the panel discussion brought some insights to everyone, with Dr. Alchris Go of the academe sector from the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Engr. Joanna Tiffany Chloe Kayanan of First Gen Corporation, and Engr. Sean Gonida of the Energy Development Corporation sharing their thoughts on matters such as policies, technologies, and collaboration with other professions. The parallel sessions were made possible through the breakout session feature of the virtual medium where conference participants showed equal interests in both sessions for SDG 6 & 7.

Engr. Jesselito Baring talked on Retrofitting an Oxidation Ditch to Perform Annamox Process, Engr. Erl Nichol Tabuco expounded on the Clean Water and Sanitation Agenda in the Visayas from an industry perspective, and Engr. Abulencia tackled an emerging global problem which is Nutrient Pollution in Wastewater. On another hand, Dr. Go shared how liquid biofuels in the Philippines are a crucial resource now and beyond, then Engr. Kayanan discussed the Shifting to Retail Competition and Open Access (RCOA) or Green Energy Option Program (GEP) with Renewable Energy, while Engr. Gonida calls on to clarify the Energy Efficiency Act and Visibility Solutions. Finally, the day one program ended the presentation of session syntheses by Dr. Albert Jubilo and Engr. Mel Angelie Bacal.

The next day started another sustainability agendas on SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production and SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure. The third plenary session kicked off by Engr. Niñaliza Escorial of the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) with her talk on the contributions of science and technology to the SDGs, then followed by a short yet resounding discourse with Engr. Juvyneil Cartel from the Eastern Visayas State University and Dr. Noel Peter Tan, a Balik Scientist at USC by the Department of Science and Technology PCIEERD. The afternoon parallel sessions gave another remarkable awareness. The first session provided meaningful talks from Engr. Andrew Montalbo on the sustainable waste management solutions, Engr. Kenn Rondel Pajayat on sustainable consumption: centered on the Hazardous Waste Management in Region 7, and Engr. Jowena Joy Besa on her talk entitled “The Whys and The Hows?” In the parallel session, Dr. Cabije enthusiastically shared a regional strategy on ecosystem partners’ roles in incubating technology and innovation for start-ups, while Engr. Cartel made a comprehensive discussion on a case study about the adoption of supercritical fluid technology in a developing country such as the Philippines. Session rapporteurs, Engr. Kirsten Gail Miaga and Dr. Ramelito Agapay then presented their syntheses right after. Briefly reminding fellow chemical engineers of the collective insights and action plan is the Executive Vice President of PIChE, Engr. Chamaigne Luz D. Jamandre. The discussion on the Consolidated House Bills to Amend the ChE Law presented by Engr. Jubilo, raised some questions and concerns. This, however, sparked a great interest in fellow chemical engineers to participate and engage in the future strategies of the profession.

With the successful conduct of the first virtual Visayas Regional Conference, Engr. Siglos thanked everyone who made the event successful during his closing remarks. Together in the spotlight were the following sponsors who also made the event possible: Atlas Fertilizer (Diamond), GT Cosmetics Manufacturing Inc. (Gold), International Pharmaceutical Incorporated (Gold), iPak (Silver), Global Business Power Corporation (Silver), and Universal Robina Corporation (Silver).