As part of the collective strategy, commitment, and initiative of the different agencies to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 virus, the DOST FPRDI chipped in its expertise in formulating a microbial soap to serve as a disinfectant hand soap. On December 9, 2021, a team from DOST Forest Products Research and Development Institute (FPRDI) came to Siquijor province to distribute its brand of microbial soap. A day of its three-day visit, as requested by Engr. Mario E. de la Peña, was allotted for a demo on microbial soap making for the beneficiaries. In a way, it also assumed as a campaign to consider it a livelihood prospect or alternative.
The demo took place on December 9, 2021 (Thursday) at the GAD Building in Siquijor, Siquijor which saw DOST-Siquijor CEST beneficiaries, a youth group, a bamboo-furniture maker, and a soap maker from Pangi, Siquijor in attendance. A total of 32 participants representing nine women’s associations or farmers’ association, as well as youth and coop members also attended. The dividend of participation was for each attendee to bring home his or her finished product plus that given from FPDRI.
The list of recipients of microbial soap included: the IPHO (received by Dr. Walthrode Opay); the six Rural Health Units; the youth sector, KAPANING and WONDER of Cangmunag San Juan; CCMPC of Catulayan, San Juan; BISMACOFA of Bitaug Enrique Villanueva; Cantugbas Womens Association of Maria; Triple M Farmers Association of Lazi; a bamboo-furniture maker of Siquijor; Soap Makers Group of Pangi, Siquijor; Siquijor Sewers Association; and the youth group managed by Hon. Bryll Deeiah Tumarong.
“This demo on microbial soap making is like hitting two birds with one stone. First, it is a relevant response to booster our strict observance on the health protocol of sanitation, and second, it serves as a good platform for a business venture,” Tumarong said.
The antimicrobial liquid hand soap is formulated using cinnamon (Cinnamomum mercadoi Vidal) and bamboo-activated carbon, with lavender and Manila elemi oil scents. The hand bar soaps, meanwhile, use bamboo charcoal (Bambusa sp), bamboo-activated carbon, sapang (Caesalpinia sappan L.) and tawa tawa (Euphorbia hirta L.), with eucalyptus oil scent.
“The results of DOST-FPRDI’s previous and on-going studies on bamboo charcoal and bamboo-activated carbon have been useful in making these personal care products,” shared research team leader Dr. Jennifer P. Tamayo.
She continued: “The bamboo-activated carbon helps remove microorganisms, such as germs, by absorbing them. While the Institute has yet to study sapang and tawa tawa thoroughly, available literature points to their antimicrobial properties.”
The Institute has also prepared anti-microbial hand mists for disinfecting hands in the absence of soap and water. The hand mists are made from cinnamon, a proven natural disinfectant, and infused with either lavender or Manila elemi oil scent.
According to Tamayo, bioassay testing and sensory test are now being done to further study the products. DOST-FPRDI aims to partner with local bamboo-based companies to speed-up the manufacture of these anti-microbial soaps.
“Maintaining personal hygiene, such as through washing and sanitizing of hands, is deemed an important step in preventing the spread of diseases. As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in some areas of the country, DOST-FPRDI will look for more ways to help protect the public against this global pandemic.”
Early part of the year, when the pandemic struck deadliest, DOST Provincial Office distributed face shields to our front liners and ayuda to our DOST MSMEs. And now this microbial soap will be of help.
The activity ended with an auspicious note as the Vice Governor virtually opened and Hon. Tumarong closed it respectively.
On behalf of the Province of Siquijor, DOST Siquijor expresses its heartfelt thanks and gratitude for including the Province of Siquijor as one of FPRDI demo sites aside from NCR, Reg 6, Region IX, and for the recipients of the microbial soap from the different associations and the six RHUs, and a hospital in the province.
(by Engr. De la Peña & Jose Aldous R. Arbon II)