Jeepney driver invents device to stop brake leak, wins DOST contest

By Edd K. Usman

A jeepney driver who invented a life-saving technology that automatically stops leakage of brake fluid at the first drip has won the top prize in an invention contest organized by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

DOST secretary Fortunato T. dela Peña (second from left) with grand winner Melchor Henosa (left) of the 2016 National Invention Contest and Exhibits (Nice) at SMX Convention Center

DOST secretary Fortunato T. dela Peña (second from left) with grand winner Melchor Henosa (left) of the 2016 National Invention Contest and Exhibits (Nice) at SMX Convention Center

The invention of 36-year-old Melchor L. Henosa, called “Leak Saving Valve for Brake System of Motorized Vehicles”, prevents potentially deadly accidents on the road. Henosa, who plies his trade in Silang, Cavite and finished only second year in high school, said it took him five years to perfect the technology.

His persistence paid off as he was declared on Sunday, July 31, as the grand winner of the 2016 National Invention Contest and Exhibits (Nice), a highlight of the National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.

The device won him the Nice’s grand prize — Outstanding Invention (Tuklas) Award — that came with P150,000 cash, certificate, plaque, and Wipo (World Intellectual Property Organization) Gold Medal.

Henosa revealed he first came up with the idea of his invention while seated in the front seat of a Besta van parked at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) waiting for his cousin from Germany in 2011. He told journalists the idea just came out of the blue as he noticed the van’s brake fluid container jutting out of the vehicle.

“It played in my mind, ‘what if the brake fluid leaks suddenly and everything is drained’. You will no longer have your brake, no more pressure. So, I thought if I could create an automatic check valve to stop the leak after its first drip, there will still be a brake because the pressure remains,” he said.

Days after the airport incident, Henosa recalled that he woke up at the middle of the night and could not sleep again because the idea kept cropping up.

In the morning, Henosa said he then made a design of the check valve in three separate illustrations and brought it to a machine shop in Caloocan City for prototyping. He said he borrowed P3,000 from a cousin from General Santos City, South Cotabato.

“We tested it and it worked,” he said.

“Marami nga ang kumukutya sa akin dahil ano daw ang alam ko na second year high school lang (In fact, there were many who jeered me because I only completed second year in high school),” Henosa said.

“I have no budget for it, but I persevered and strived to realize my dream of helping save lives on the road,” he added.

Henosa also expressed his gratitude to the DOST’s Technology Application and Promotion Institute (TAPI), which provided around P1 million assistance for the invention’s prototyping.

TAPI director Edgar Garcia said the agency is ready to provide additional assistance up to P2 million for the project’s commercialization. “We are waiting to see his new project proposal,” said Garcia.

Henosa said a transportation company has already placed for orders its 30 vehicles. He said a vehicle needs one check valve for each tire, worth about P4,000 each.

“I can say this is a gift from God. He trusted me and I made it (and with many contributions from other people),” said Henosa.

His win could not have come at a better time since his infant child is at an incubator in a hospital. He said he will use the prize money to pay for hospital bills and medicines.

His mother Florentina was equally happy of his son’s achievement. “Tuwang-tuwa ako (I am really happy),” she said.

Grand winner Melchor Henosa with his mother Florentina Henosa

Grand winner Melchor Henosa with his mother Florentina Henosa

DOST secretary Fortunato T. dela Peña, who graced the awarding ceremonies, cited the fact that the inventors came from different walks of life and not just researchers from schools.

“As you can see, the top winner is a jeepney driver who came up with an invention just to solve his own problem,” dela Peña said in an exclusive interview with Newsbytes.PH.

Dela Peña cited the importance of the participation of the country’s regions in the Nice, “whether they are matured inventors or student inventors because their inventions or innovations can do a lot in pushing the progress of the regions.”

He said another winner came from the insurance industry, while others are engineers – the usual suspects who have formal background in putting up things.

“So, I think the distribution of the awards, as you can notice, is not concentrated in one place, many awardees come from different areas,” he added.

A check with the winners’ list showed the winners came from various parts of Metro Manila, Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Davao City registered three winners.

Dela Peña reiterated his commitment to continue the DOST’s research and development (R&D) initiatives.

“Whatever comes out of our R&D will, of course, be utilized — whether the outputs are for ICT, agriculture, or for health. What is important is the outputs of our research will be harnessed because the money invested is from the government,” said the DOST head.

Dela Peña, in particular, cited ICT for its many uses. “I think we are into the age of smart agriculture, smart health, and smart living. I think the technology being developed, whether software and others will contribute in the attainment of this goal.”

The second prize in the Tuklas Award went to a project called “Pyroclave Non-Burn and Water-free Medical Waste Treatment Technology” by inventor Roderick S. Dayot of Barrio Obrero, Davao City. He won P100,000, a certificate, and a plaque.

Another invention, the “Pre-Cast Composite Block Panel with Assembly of Recycled Cylindrical Cardboard Rolls in-Fill” by Eduardo P. Urcia of Kawiliha Village, Pasig City, took the third prize worth P50,000.

Other winning entries in the DOST-Nice are:

Outstanding Utility Model, first prize, “The Green Eco-Toilet System” of Daniel A. Camacho from Quezon City (P100,000, certificate, plaque, WIPO Gold Medal); second prize, “Mineral and Oxygen-Rich Alkaline Drinking Water Purification and Sterilization Equipment” of Rodrigo P. Duque, Baguio City (P50,000, certificate, and plaque); and third prize, “Pharmaceutical Grade Pectin From Mango Peels” by Dr. Ma. Christina B. Gragasin and Aileen R. Ligisan of Nueva Ecija (P25,000, certificate, and plaque);

Outstanding Industrial Design, first prize, “Model 3 Solar-Powered Road Marker” of Percival G. Barba, Quezon City (P100,000, WIPO plaque, and certificate); and second prize, “Theo Cocktail Table” from Vito Angelo D. Selma, Canduman, Mandaue City, Cebu (P50,000, certificate, and plaque);

Likha Award (Outstanding Creative Research), first prize, “PhilMech Compact Cornmill” by Michael A. Gragasin, Dr. Romualdo C. Martinez, and Jayvee P. Illustrisimo, Nueva Ecija, (P50,000, certificate, and plaque); second prize, “Lamp Primers for White Spot Syndrome Virus” of Dr. Mary Beth B. Maningas, University of Santo Tomas (UST), Manila (P25,000, certificate, and plaque); and third prize, “Reddopac the Highly Polymerized Cationic” from Aezer L. Cajegas, Catalunan Grande, Davao City (P15,000, certificate, and plaque);

SIBOL Award (Student Creative Research for College), first prize, “Sweet Potatoes: Starch: A Degradation Catalysis Component of Biomate Added High Density Poly-Ethylene Plastics” by Neil Anthony S. Jamili, University of Mindanao (UM) Matina, Davao City (P50,000, certificate, and plaque); second prize, “Obstacle Detection and Evasion System for the Visually Impaired People” of Raven S. Tabiongan, Samar State University (SSU), Catbalogan, Samar (P25,000, certificate, and plaque); and third prize, “Design, Fabrication and Evaluation of Spiral-Paddled Type Water Wheel” from Jeremy B. Collado, Nueva Viscaya State University (NVSU), Bayombong, Nueva Viscaya (P15,000, certificate, and plaque), and;

SIBOL Award (Outstanding Creative Research for High School), first prize, “Aquatic Z.O (Aquatic Zero Oil Skimming Robot)” of Jose Carlos C. Paco, Red Angelo M. Hizon and Mary Emjay L. Cairo, Collegio de San Juan de Letran, Calamba, Laguna (P50,000, certificate, and plaque); second prize, “Do-It-Yourself Low-Cost Gel Electrophoresis Equipment” by Catherine Joy N. Abella and Francis Anthony M. Homillano, Philippine Science High School-Bicol Region Campus, Goa, Camarines, Norte (P25,000, certificate, and plaque); and, third prize, “iFlood: Improvised Flood Alarm and Warning Device” from Ronnie Lei Magno, Regional Science High School, East Kalayaan, Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Olongapo City, Zambales (P15,000 certificate, and plaque).

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