Press Release
December 18, 2007


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino "Nene" Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today deplored the lackadaisical attitude of government bureaucrats towards scientific inventions made by Filipino inventors which has deprived the country of tremendous benefits from their pioneering works.

Pimentel said the Philippines could have taken the lead in the production of water-powered cars and the harnessing of ocean waves to generate power - which are now a reality in other countries - if the government authorities paid due attention to the local inventors who first discovered the technologies for these alternatives to expensive oil as early as the 1980s.

Assailing what appears to be the government's wishy-washy attitude towards science and technology as a concrete means to propel the country into the developed and industrialized world, the minority leader batted for the allocation of P200 million additional funds for the research and development projects of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and for the training of teachers in physics and scholarship grants of science education under the 2008 national budget.

"Not only do we fail to provide the DOST with adequate funds to pursue research and development. Neither are we outraged by the neglect of our officials to support our investors so that their creativeness may benefit the nation," Pimentel said in a privilege speech in the Senate.

He recalled that in 1986, an Ilonggo inventor named Daniel Dingle came over to see him at his office as interior and local government minister to present the water-run car that he had invented.

Pimentel said then President Corazon Aquino instructed then Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) to look into Dingle's invention after riding in the water-run car during a test drive within the premises of Malacañang.

After several weeks, he said an official of the MOST replied to him that they found no merit to Dingle's invention by claiming that the car ran on a mix of gasoline and water.

Pimentel said when he asked the inventor about it, the latter explained that the so-called mix of gasoline and water was only partially true because he had to use gasoline to start the engine. The inventor further said that once the engine gets starter, water would replace the gasoline to run the car.

"The lackadaisical attitude displayed by the bureaucrats at the MOST towards the Dingle invention, I believe, has cost us the billions of pesos that we are spending and have spent through the years that kept our vehicles gurgling on gasoline instead of on water," he said.

Pimentel said he made this assertion because only days ago, Honda engineers formally announced that the company is now marketing water-powered cars. He said water, as any Chemistry 101 student would know, has two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen. By coming out with an engine that manipulates the mixture, Honda water-run cars are now ready for the market.

"In that respect, we lost the race to come up with our native discovery of water-run vehicle. From 1986 to 2007 is 21 years. For 21 years, we took no note of all of the inventions that had the potential to save millions of dollars worth of gasoline imports - money that could be used to build roads, schools, hospitals and a thousand other things and make us less dependent on the Middle East for our fuel needs and on other super-powers for our other needs," Pimentel said.

On another scientific breakthrough in power generation, Pimentel said that in late 2003 Isidro Umali Ursua informed him that a group of Filipino inventors had discovered a way to produce all of the country's electrical power requirements without the use of diesel or fossil fuel by extracting power from the "tidal flow of our ocean."

Ursua and his group filed a patent application with the World Intellectual Property Office after presenting their invention to several government entities, including the National Power Corporation, Department of Energy and National Electrification Administration.

Ursua said the engineers in these agencies "were convinced (about the invention) but no one seems to care or help."

Pimentel said upon his request as a senator, the Department of Science and Technology evaluated the proposal to extract energy from ocean waves. But in early 2004, the DOST, through Undersecretary Rogelio Panlasigui replied that the evaluation did not materialize because certain steps had to be undertaken but which were not done.

According to Pimentel, the idea of harnessing ocean waves for electricity as Ursua had suggested to the government at the turn of the current century now appears to be the subject of separate experimental runs by companies from the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and Australia.

"What riles me up is the fact that the two inventions that I mention in� were in the hands of Filipino inventors waiting for the government authorities to get them off the drawing board into the government testing field, hopefully into the national market and eventually into the world market," he said.

As a consequence, Pimentel said the Filipinos missed two boats - Dingle's water car invention and Ursua's machine for harnessing ocean waves for energy needs - in preparing the country for the oil crunch that everybody foretold will come sooner than later.

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