Two outstanding engineering graduates from the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) were among the winners of the 2014 Magsaysay Future Engineers/ Technologists Award, conducted by the National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST PHL) on December 18, 2014 at the Hotel Jen.
Mr. Alvin James E. Asaytono and Mr. Gerard Jericho B. Ronquillo won first and third prizes, respectively. Asaytono, a chemical engineering graduate, presented his paper on “Enzymatic Modification of Dietary Fiber from Waste Cacao (Theobroma cacao) Pod Husks for Use as a Potential Food Ingredient”, while Ronquillo, a graduate of civil engineering discussed “Morphological and Characterization-based Verification of the Properties of Concrete with Amorphous Nanosilica Synthesized from Rice Hull Ash.” On the other hand, Mr. Andres Philip Mayol, a mechanical engineering graduate and alumnus of De La Salle University bagged the second prize for his research on “Investigation of the Drying Characteristics of Microalgae using Microwave Irradiation”. The three awardees were selected from a total of sixfinalists who competed for the said award.
Special citations were also given to the remaining finalists: (1) Mr. Alvin T. Chua of De La Salle Araneta University for his research “The Development of Modified Alkali Transesterification Reactor (Biodiesel Reactor) for Low Carbon Economy”; (2) Ms. Adelen Victoria P. Festin of the University of the Philippines Diliman for her study on “Communect: Secure Community Connection Using OpenBTS as an Alternative Base Station”, and (3) Mr. Paolo Francisco I. Matias of De La Salle University for his research entry  “Investigation of the Drying Characteristics of Microalgae using Microwave Irradiation.”
The 15-minute paper presentation was followed by a brief open forum. Former Senator Ramon B. Magsaysay, Jr. and National Scientist Mercedes B. Concepcion, vice president of NAST presented the awards. In his message, Sen. Magsaysay urged the young engineers to become more competitive in their scientific and technological endeavors.
The Board of Judges was composed of Acd. Aura C. Matias, Chairperson, Acd. Reynaldo B. Vea, and Acd. Guillermo Q. Tabios. The MFET award is given annually by the National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST PHL), the country’s highest recognition and advisory body on matters related to science and technology, with funding from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). The award has been established as recognition to outstanding research outputs on engineering and technology at the collegiate level. The competition is open to Bachelor of Science students enrolled in an engineering program or related fields, specifically in the areas of (a) biomedical engineering, (b) machinery, (c) engineering products, (d) engineering sources, and (e) product development.
The first, second and third prize winners received a cash prize of P50,000, P30,000, and P20,000, respectively and a plaque of recognition from NAST.  Special citations received a cash prize of P10,000 each and plaque of recognition. The institution of the first prize winner will be given a research grant of P500,000 upon approval of a project/research proposal by DOST. (by: Darvin Rosa)