Thursday, May 25, 2023

UPD-CS scientist co-invents defense vs. invasive alien species

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

Shipboard personnel oversee a live demonstration of the ballast water treatment system co-developed by UPD-CS IESM scientist Dr. Benjamin Vallejo Jr. The system is just a fraction of the cost of other commercially available solutions. (Photo credit: Dr. Benjamin Vallejo, Jr.)

All over the world, cargo ships and other large vessels routinely fill their ballast tanks with seawater to help keep afloat on rough seas. This ballast water is usually released at the ship’s destination, bringing with it invasive animals, plants, microorganisms and other alien species that can devastate local marine biodiversity and coastal ecosystems.

Such invasive alien species have cost over US$1.1 trillion worth of damage worldwide between 1960 and 2022 alone, according to an international study. The cost of managing invasions has cost the world an estimated US$95.3 billion since 1960.

This global problem prompted scientists from the University of the Philippines – Diliman College of Science (UPD-CS) and the University of Cebu to invent a port water treatment system that costs just ₱12 million or only around $200,000—a small fraction of the cost of other commercially-available systems, which can run as high as US$5 million.

“Our system utilizes UV sterilization and mechanical methods to treat ballast water, and has proven promising in initial tests in decreasing the number of invasive species translocated from port to port,” said the system’s co-inventor, UPD-CS Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology (IESM) Professor and Ballast Water and Biofouling Management Research Program Leader Dr. Benjamin Vallejo Jr.

“It complies with the IMO D-2 standard for ballast water treatment and can be used until the local industry can install its own onboard treatment systems,” he added.

This is a very timely invention considering that, in 2018, the Philippines ratified the IMO’s 2004 Ballast Water Management Convention, which imposes regulations on the proper handling and treatment of ballast water. Thus, Philippine ships constructed after 2018 are mandated to have a port ballast water treatment system. And by 2024, all ships are expected to treat their ballast water before release.

 A computer-generated mockup of the ballast water treatment system co-invented by UPD-CS IESM scientist Dr. Benjamin Vallejo Jr.(Photo credit: Dr. Benjamin Vallejo)

A closeup of the ballast water treatment system co-invented by UPD-CS IESM scientist Dr. Benjamin Vallejo Jr. (Photo credit: Dr. Benjamin Vallejo)

“We hope this treatment system will be cheaper than other costly comparable systems. Now is the opportunity for Filipino investors to break into Southeast Asia’s ballast water treatment market,” Dr. Vallejo urged.

Dr. Vallejo will discuss his alternative ballast water treatment system for ships at the upcoming iStories webinar hosted by UPD-CS on May 29, 2023. The webinar will dive deeper into the ideation process and development of the treatment system and its mass production and distribution.

iStories is a series of innovation-themed talks, storytelling, and activities featuring local and international scientists. The initiative aims to ignite the creativity and inventiveness of young scientists not just from UPD-CS but from other institutes inside and outside UP.

The third session of iStories on May 29, 2023 (Monday) will be held on Zoom.

The iStories series is scheduled for 3:00 pm every last Monday of the month. To join, you may register through this link Subscription to the entire iStories webinar series is also possible through the same form.

For inquiries about iStories, please message

For interview requests and other media concerns, please contact


Ross N. Cuthbert et al. Biological invasion costs reveal insufficient proactive management worldwide. Science of The Total Environment, Volume 819, 2022.

Ballast Water Management. International Maritime Organization. (n.d.).

Transport think tank presents ways for PH to decarbonise freight transport syste

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

ITF’s recommendations, coupled with PH policies, may halve the freight sector’s carbon emissions by 2050.

Like many other countries struggling to reduce carbon emissions and meet their climate targets, the Philippines’ freight sector alone emitted around 20 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) in 2022. It is at this crucial time that the International Transport Forum (ITF) has recommended several policies to help the country decarbonise this particular sector.

Whilst the Philippines has transport policies in place, including electric-vehicle adoption, these will not be enough to bring down the CO2 emission of its freight transport, which is projected to more than quadruple in 2050.

If the Philippines only follows its current policies, the CO2 emissions of its freight emissions will grow by 151% to 50 million tonnes.

Through the ITF’s Sustainable Infrastructure Programme in Asia (SIPA), the transport think tank was able to come up with two sets of additional policies for the Philippines, one that focuses on building a green fleet, and another that promotes seamless intermodality.

The ITF unveiled its policy recommendations during its dissemination mission agenda held at the Diamond Hotel in Manila on 25 April.

The event was attended by members of the ITF led by Secretary-General Young Tae Kim, officials of the Department of Transportation, the Land Transportation Office, and the the Climate Change Commission, and private stakeholders that included Clean Air Asia and International Container Terminal Services, Inc.

Under its “Green Fleet” recommendation, ITF advised the Philippines to replace truck fleets with zero-emission vehicles. To do so, the ITF recommended the identification of use cases for early adoption of zero-emission trucks and to incentivise companies for fleet conversion.

“Supporting pilot projects and offering purchase subsidies for electric trucks can promote low-carbon technologies in road transport,” the ITF said.

It also recommended that the Philippines adopt fuel economy standards for trucks. “Fuel economy standards can promote fuel-saving measures such as aerodynamic retrofits, vehicle wish reductions, engine efficiency improvements, and hybridisation,” the ITF said.

To make a greener freight transport system, the think tank also recommended the renewal of vessel fleets. It underscored the importance of implementing differentiated port fees that depend on the environmental performance of vessels.

The second set of ITF recommendations focuses on improving the intermodality in the country’s freight transport system.

Under this area of focus, the think tank advised the Philippines to increase port capacity; decrease dwell times at cargo transfer points by streamlining and digitalising processes; and promote and incentivise asset sharing between key players

By investing in port capacity expansions and maximising utilisation of existing assets, the maritime transport sector can capture a higher modal share in the country’s freight transport system.

At best, the ITF hopes these measures, coupled with the Philippines’ current policies, could cut the local freight sector’s carbon emissions by half come 2050.

It is confident that green fleet measures, in particular, can reduce carbon intensity of freight by 61%, whilst the seamless intermodality scenario can reduce the sector’s emissions by 21%.

Adopting from others

ITF Secretary-General Young Tae Kim said the Philippines can also learn from other countries with regard to decarbonising their freight transport system, particularly from Europe.

ITF Secretary-General Young Tae Kim

“On the European Union side, they are trying to bring regulation…they are trying to ban all fossil fuel vehicles by a certain deadline…starting 2035. Interestingly, China and the United Arab Emirates, which have depended a lot on fossil fuel in the past, are also starting to introduce a new approach,” Kim told GovMedia.

Kim added that in Southeast Asia, many motorists still use fossil fuels. Many gas stations in the region also still sell 91 octane fuel, whilst, in Europe, gas stations sell 95, 97, or 98.

A 2014 study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) showed that if the majority of light-duty vehicles run on higher-octane gasoline, the United States’ automotive industry can reduce carbon emissions by 35 million tonnes per year.

Kim said the Philippine government can also utilise ITF's tools such as the Transport Climate Action Directory, which has more than 80 mitigation measures.

“Every measure provides a rough estimation of CO2 reductions. By combining different tools, the government can expect to reach a certain point or level,” Kim said.

As much as the Philippines can adopt from other countries, Kim highlighted that there’s a lot to be learned from the Philippines as well, given that it has different modes of transport.

“These days, the important question is to know how we can complete an intermodal approach. I think the Philippines can provide the global community with their own experience, how they can make real improvement because in some countries we can only focus on land transport and sometimes maritime [transport],” Kim said.

Whilst it is still uncertain as to when the Philippines can achieve its decarbonisation goals, Kim is confident that the country will be able to reach an optimum level of improvement, especially if it focuses on technological development, behaviour change, governance, and international cooperation.

“What is important for now is that the government continues to work together with the international community. The goal should be shortening the period of change,” he added.

BingoPlus is presenter of Binibining Pilipinas 2023

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

Excites fans by letting them vote for favorite candidates on BingoPlus website

BingoPlus again reiterated its mission to support initiatives and undertakings that showcase Pinoy culture, Pinoy leisure activities and the Pinoy spirit by throwing its support behind the 59th Binibining Pilipinas beauty pageant set to take place May 28, 2023 at the New Frontier Theater.

The first live-streaming bingo in the Philippines is the presenter of the beauty-and-brains tilt and has added excitement to the contest by getting fans and pageant enthusiasts involved in the voting process. BingoPlus created a voting page on its official website so the public can cast their votes for their favorite candidates, with the candidate who gets the most votes automatically advancing to the Top 12 of Binibining Pilipinas 2023 and receiving a P100,000 cash prize from BingoPlus.

Forty lovely ladies from all over the country will vie for the four prestigious titles of Binibining Pilipinas International, Binibining Pilipinas Grand and Binibining Pilipinas Globe at the pageant.

All that beauty contest fans have to do is register and log in on the BingoPlus website ( and cast their votes. When they do, they get the chance to win BingoPlus credits and tickets to witness the Binibining Pilipinas coronation night live. The more votes cast, the more chances of winning in the lucky draw. Voting started April 29 and will run through May 26. Lucky draw winners will be announced every Friday up to May 28.

The Binibining Pilipinas candidates recently visited and toured the newly built and biggest studio of BingoPlus in Quezon City where many of the grand, star-studded BingoPlus Nights are held. The lovely ladies gave a glimpse of what audiences can expect on finals night by putting on a mini show, introducing themselves per province, greeting audiences via livestream and inviting them to cast their votes for their candidates on the BingoPlus website.

Since its launch in January 2022, BingoPlus has been passionately supporting brands and undertakings that share its vision of providing quality entertainment to Filipinos. BingoPlus was the presenter of Ms. Philippines Earth 2022, and has also been actively supporting Pinoy festivals like the Sinulog in Cebu, Dinagyang and Pintados de Pasi in Iloilo and MassKara in Bacolod. BingoPlus is also an avid supporter of musical events and concerts as well as sports leagues, teams and special events.

“BingoPlus will continue to support activities that showcase our Filipino tradition and culture. As a promoter of leisure and quality entertainment, we will be part of many more initiatives that express our Pinoy love of merriment and recreation,” said Jasper Vicencio, AB Leisure Exponent, Inc. President, the company that introduced the BingoPlus brand.

For more information about BingoPlus, visit

Ang Pambansang Blog ng Pilipinas Wazzup Pilipinas and the Umalohokans. Ang Pambansang Blog ng Pilipinas celebrating 10th year of online presence
Copyright © 2013 Wazzup Pilipinas News and Events
Design by FBTemplates | BTT