, NOVEMBER 14, 2006 (STAR) By Helen Flores - Necessity may be the mother of invention, but Filipino inventors know how to bring fun into the process.

A beer fortified with all the B vitamins, an electric meter that uses a prepaid phone card and a cough-easing lollipop made of lagundi leaves dubbed "Lolligundi" were among 99 local inventions showcased yesterday at the Philippine Trade Training Center (PTTC) in Pasay City during the celebration of National Inventors Week (NIW).

The inventions were part of 300 entries from all over the country were presented in creatively designed booths to vie for several cash prizes and recognition from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) through the Technology Application and Promotion Institute (TAPI), which provides technical and financial assistance to inventors.

The phone card-run electric meter was the brainchild of three students of the Technological University of the Philippines (TUP) in Taguig City.

The invention of Raquel Fundan, Divina Robledo and Dominador Pedira enables the use of a prepaid PLDT Fonkard to pay for electricity as it is used, with a P100 load equivalent to 1,000 units of electricity.

This phone card-run electric meter comes with a red light that will flash once the phone card is low on load. The prepaid phone card can be removed from the device, should the user wish to do so, provided that all appliances are turned off, the inventors said.

Inventor Virgilio Malang submitted two inventions: Beer enriched with all the B vitamins and the orange-flavored Lolligundi.

Malang’s beer contains less alcohol, at 3.5 percent, than non-enriched beer — though it can still intoxicate drinkers even as it boosts their daily B vitamin intake.

The Lolligundi, on the other hand, is an innovative new way of delivering the Department of Health-tested benefits of lagundi, a traditional Philippine herb that is used in the treatment of asthma and cough and for the relief of cold symptoms. Lagundi is normally administered as a tea, cough syrup or in tablet form.

According to Malang, the recommended dosage of Lolligundi for children is three lollipops in succession and possibly more for adults.

Parents need not worry about tooth decay if they give their children these cough-pops, because the Lolligundi is low in sugar, he said.

Malang developed the vitamin beer and Lolligundi with the help of his wife, who is a pharmacist.

"The NIW heralds Filipino inventors’ relentless passion for excellence in inventing and innovating products. Pinoy inventors’ ingenuity is an indispensable key in meeting the challenges of the global society," Science Undersecretary Graciano Yumul said at the opening rites.

"The world’s unprecedented program towards knowledge should not leave us clueless, uninvolved and for that matter indifferent. The NIW is a conscious attempt and a solid demonstration of the department’s recognition of the capability of Filipino inventors in Philippine society and in the landscape of our national economic development," he said.

Other inventions presented at the show include an improved charcoal stove, a welding mask with offset lenses and breathing port, a natural-ingredient based analgesic balm, a fuel and energy saving device and an anti-carjacking device.

Eight outstanding inventions are vying for the Tuklas Award, given to the most outstanding invention with demonstrable qualities and potential for improvement and widespread commercialization.

Cash prizes of P100,000, P50,000 and P20,000 await the lucky winners.

Other awards up for grabs include the "Outstanding Utility Model," "Likha Award," and "Sibol Award," which will be given to the most outstanding creative research for both high school and college students. Cash prizes from P10,000 to P50,000 will be given to the winning entries.

Science Secretary Estrella Alabastro said Filipinos need to strengthen the country’s competitiveness, not only to improve the country’s socio-political environment but also to harness and put to good use the talents and capabilities of our inventors, scientists and technologists.

"The NIW is an event to pay tribute to a new breed of heroes – the Filipino inventors, for their perseverance and hard work and for inspiring Filipinos," Alabastro said.

The third week of November was declared as National Inventors’ Week by virtue of Proclamation No. 285 issued by then President Fidel Ramos in 1993.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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