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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Pinoy First: AdDU Rocketry Team greenlit for Spaceport America Cup 2024

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

Besting almost 200 teams from over 20 countries, students from Ateneo de Davao University have just become the first ever Filipinos to successfully qualify for the prestigious international Spaceport America Cup.

The Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU) Rocketry Team has made history as the first representative from the Philippines to pass the Flight Readiness Review (FRR) for the Spaceport America Cup 2024 - Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition (SAC-IREC). The Team’s rocket has been deemed fit for launch at the competition, spotlighting Filipino talent in the highly competitive global arena of aerospace engineering.

The Spaceport America Cup 2024 will be held on June 17-22 in New Mexico, USA. It is the biggest intercollegiate rocket engineering competition in the world, drawing the brightest minds from universities across the globe to design, build, and launch their own rockets. This year’s competition attracted nearly 200 teams from over 20 countries, making the qualification of the AdDU Rocketry Team a truly remarkable achievement for the nation.

The FRR is the culmination of months of rigorous preparation and dedication by the Team, which is now greenlit to participate in the 10k Commercial Off-the-Shelf category. The Team’s entry, named SIBOL (Filipino for growth), is a high-powered rocket capable of carrying an 8.8-pound payload to an altitude of 10,000 feet.

The Team is part of AdDU's larger Rocket Development Program or Project Sugod, which means "moving forward" in the hopes of ushering in a new era in Philippine aerospace engineering. They also hope to attract sponsors in the near future, to help them further develop their homegrown technology.

For sponsorship inquiries, interview requests and additional information, please contact the team at

Valenzuela youth paint pedestrian lanes, call for safer roads

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LIGTAS NA DAAN, KULAYAN NATIN ‘YAN. Valenzuela City officials and other organizations like UNICEF Philippines, ImagineLaw, Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation, and Michelin join students from Vicente P. Trinidad National High School in Valenzuela City in painting pedestrian lanes to celebrate National Road Safety Month.

Learners from Vicente P. Trinidad National High School in Valenzuela City went out of their classrooms on Friday to paint pedestrian lanes outside their school as a call for safer roads for everyone, especially children.

“This National Road Safety Month, we urge the government at all levels to make our journey to and from school safer. No child deserves to get injured or die due to preventable road crashes,” said Precious Shane Matira, a Grade 7 student from Vicente P. Trinidad National High School.

In response to the youth’s call, the City Government of Valenzuela, headed by Vice Mayor Lorena Natividad-Borja, expressed its commitment to continuously protect children from road crash deaths and injuries. In 2022, Valenzuela City enacted a Child Road Safety Ordinance to create safer and healthier Valenzuela roads for all children.

“We will continue working to ensure that children are safe on Valenzuela roads. In fact, Valenzuelanos can expect several road safety improvements this year because we are introducing engineering interventions that will improve road conditions along school zones,” Vice Mayor Borja promised.

These interventions were recommended to the City Government upon assessment of the risk that children are exposed to on their journey to schools. These interventions include infrastructure improvements such as building or upgrading sidewalks, bike lanes, traffic calming measures such as speed bumps, and pedestrian crossings.

Civil society organizations and other road safety stakeholders were also present to celebrate the National Road Safety Month. Public interest law group ImagineLaw commended Valenzuela youth for taking a stand. “We appreciate your courage to go out here, paint these pedestrian lanes, and advocate for safer roads. We hope that what you did today inspired our local government leaders to take action, because going to school or playing outside should not be a death sentence for children,” said Atty. Reina Fabregas, the law group’s road safety project manager.

“Road traffic injuries remain to be the leading cause of death for children 5 to 18 years old, with more than 600 preventable deaths happening daily. In 2017, the Philippine Statistics Authority documented that at least 1,600 Filipino children are killed by road crashes every year. UNICEF believes that it is every child’s right to survive and thrive in a healthy and safe environment, and we know that with effective interventions, road crashes are preventable.” added Dr. Angelito Umali of UNICEF Philippines .

Illegal trading of prohibited beauty products proliferates in Tuguegarao City

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Toxic watchdog group BAN Toxics warns the public against the continuous selling of banned and prohibited beauty products in Tuguegarao City.

In a recent market monitoring conducted by the group, they managed to purchase and document the proliferation of skin whitening products tainted with toxic mercury, priced at P200 to P250, being sold at the Mall of the Valley in Tuguegarao City.

Using a Vanta C Series HH XRF Analyzer, the group found that Goree Beauty Cream with Lycopene Avocado & Aloevera had 27,380 parts per million (ppm) of mercury, Goree Day & Night Beauty Cream Oil Free Total Fairness System had 29,930 ppm, and 88 Total White Underarm Cream had 3,895 ppm. All samples contained toxic mercury exceeding the allowable limit of 1 ppm set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as published in the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive.

Mercury is among the World Health Organization’s top ten chemicals of major public health concern. Mercury lightens the skin by suppressing the production of melanin and can also remove age spots, freckles, blemishes, and wrinkles. However, its use can lead to rashes, skin discoloration, and blotching. Mercury can enter the body through absorption, inhalation, or ingestion.

The group has been active in conducting market monitoring and test-buys of different skin-lightening products sold in the market or online to warn the public about the unlawful selling of skin-lightening products (SLPs) containing mercury, a dangerous poison banned in cosmetic product formulations.

“It is alarming to discover that other cities and provinces besides Metro Manila are not spared from the illegal trading of mercury-added skin lightening products, thus jeopardizing public health and the environment,” said Thony Dizon, Toxics Campaigner of BAN Toxics.

Dizon emphasized the need for attention from regulatory agencies and the local government units to proactively conduct monitoring and enforcement actions to apprehend sellers of banned beauty products and eliminate toxic mercury exposure.

The FDA has issued public health advisories against the use and sale of unnotified cosmetic products of the following:

1. Goree Beauty Cream with Lycopene SPF 30 Avocado & Aloevera – FDA Advisory No. 2017-289 / FDA Advisory No. 2023-2344

2. Goree Day & Night Whitening Cream Oil Free – FDA Advisory No. 2017-289 / FDA Advisory No. 2023-2391

3. 88 Total White Underarm Cream – FDA Advisory No. 2021-1187

According to the advisory, “The public is advised not to purchase the aforementioned violative products. Moreover, the public is also advised to be vigilant against cosmetic products that might not be duly notified with FDA.”

“All concerned establishments are warned not to distribute the violative cosmetic products until they have already been covered by the appropriate authorization (cosmetic notification), otherwise, regulatory actions and sanctions shall be strictly pursued.”

“All Local Government Units (LGUs) and Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) are requested to ensure that these products are not sold or made available in their localities or areas of jurisdiction,” the FDA stated.

BAN Toxics encourages consumers to file a report to FDA of any sale, distribution, complaint and/or adverse event related to the use of the violative cosmetic products. The online reporting facility, eReport, can be accessed at, or consumers can call the Center for Cosmetics and Household/Urban Hazardous Substances Regulation and Research (CCHUHSRR) hotline (02) 8857-1900 loc. 8113 or 8107.

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