United States and Philippine Governments Launch Effort to Detect Terrorist Shipments of Nuclear Material
Equipment Will Help Thwart Attempts to Smuggle Components for Nuclear Weapons and "Dirty Bombs" through Seaports
Manila - The United States and Philippine Governments today signed an agreement to install special equipment at the Port of Manila to detect hidden shipments of nuclear and other radioactive material. This agreement will further strengthen their work together in the war on terrorism.
United States Charge d'Affaires Joseph A. Mussomeli signed the cooperative agreement on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) with Secretary Estrella Alabastro of the Philippines Department of Science and Technology (D0ST). "The United States and the Philippines both recognize the need to remain vigilant against the threat posed by the trafficking of nuclear and other radioactive materials through the global maritime shipping network," said Chargé d'Affaires Mussomeli. "This initiative is yet another example of the excellent cooperation in the overall relationship between the United States and the Philippines, and will further our mutual international nonproliferation and anti-terrorist efforts."
Secretary Alabastro said, "This is one big stride in strengthening the world's nuclear security regime. The increased capacity of the Philippines to prevent illicit movements of radioactive sources will impact the global monitoring systems. It also supports our national effort to enhance and strengthen the safety and security of radioactive sources under the regulatory control of the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute."
The U.S. - Philippines agreement falls under the Department of Energy, (DOE) NNSA Megaports Initiative, which is designed to work with foreign governments to deter, detect and interdict illicit shipments of nuclear and radioactive materials. The Philippines will be one of the first countries in Southeast Asia to utilize this type of detection system. The specialized radiation detection technology was developed by DOE laboratories as part of overall U.S. nuclear security efforts to guard against the proliferation of nuclear weapons material.
The Megaports Initiative supports foreign countries in deploying radiation detection capability at key seaports to screen cargo containers for nuclear and other radioactive materials.
Dr. Manuel R. Eugenio, former Commissioner of the Philippine Atomic Energy Commission ( now known as the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute) of the Department of Science and Technology passed away on Saturday, 16 July 2005 at the age of 76. He was born on June 10, 1929 to former Civil Defense Administrator Alfredo G. Eugenio and Josefina Romulo, sister of Carlos P. Romulo, the first Asian to serve as president of the United Nations General Assembly.
Dr. Eugenio began his career in the nuclear field in the Philippines when he joined the PAEC as a senior scientist in November 1958. In 1960, he was appointed as Chief of the Nuclear Engineering Department which was responsible for the production of radioisotopes. He became the Training Director of the PAEC Nuclear Training Institute in 1971. Three years after, he resigned from PAEC and left for the United States. He rejoined PAEC upon his return to the Philippines in 1978. Dr Eugenio was appointed as PAEC Commissioner in September 1984. In November 1987, he was appointed as Director of the Science Education Institute, DOST where he retired from government service.
Dr. Eugenio will be remembered for his pivotal role and outstanding contributions to the advancement of the safe and peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology in the country. He received a commendation from the University of Maryland Graduate School in the United States for his doctoral thesis "The Determination of Preferred Orientation in Rolled Electrical Steels Using Single Diffraction of Neutron". His studies on nuclear radiation and radioisotopes and on utilization of neutrons opened up many potential uses of atomic energy for industry, engineering, biology and medicine in the Philippines. Dr Eugenio's studies and development of local techniques in radioisotope production with the use of the Philippine Research Reactor (PRR-1) led to the local production of some 19 types of radioisotopes for use in biology, medicine, industry and research.
For his significant contributions in the field of nuclear science and technology, Dr. Eugenio was awarded the Rizal Pro-Patria Award in 1968.
Dr. Eugenio is survived by his wife, Aida Davila Eugenio, one of the first Ten Outstanding Women in the Nation's Service (TOWNS) Awardee, a Career Scientist II and a former Deputy Director of the PNRI.
His remains lie in state at the Don Bosco Chapel, Makati. Necrological services will be held at 10:00 AM on Wednesday, July 20, 2005 at the PNRI Auditorium in Diliman, Quezon City.
Under the framework of the regional RCA project, RAS/8/100, a National NDT (Non-Destructive Testing) Coordinators Meeting will be hosted by the PNRI from 20 to 23 June 2005.
The main objectives of the meeting are to review and revise the National Action Plan of Member States participating in the regional project, and to discuss ways for mutual recognition of NDT standards and practices with a view of achieving harmonization at the regional level. In addition, a National Executive Manager's Seminar is planned to be conducted within the Meeting in order to effectively disseminate the potentials of nondestructive testing in various industrial applications.
Philippine participation in the Meeting is through the person of Mr. Renato Banaga, an NDT trainor and practitioner, who is also the designated National Project Coordinator for this project.
The PNRI received last April 19, a plaque of recognition from the Institute of Human Genetics (IHG), University of the Philippines in Manila, for its technical support and advocacy and promotion efforts for the IHG's Newborn Screening Program.
The awarding was part of a Thanksgiving Ceremony held at the Makati Shangri-la Hotel, where newborn screening publications were also launched.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was also awarded on the same occasion with a plaque of appreciation for its technical and funding support to the program on neonatal screeing.
The event was organized principally to recognize individuals and institutions that were instrumental in the institutionalization of newborn screening in the Philippines and to launch newborn screening publications, including the Manual of Operations of the National Comprehensive Newborn Screening System, posters and flipcharts for the use of health professionals engaged in newborn screening.
The procedure of testing neonates for specific congenital diseases now enjoys nationwide support with the ratification of the Newborn Screening act of 2004, that requires all health facilities to include newborn screening among their child care services.