Quezon City – Engr. Justino P. Arboleda, known by friends as “Bo” is the President of Coco Technologies Corporation and the recipient of the first prize for the Outstanding Industrial Design Category during the 2018 National Invention Contest and Exhibit (NICE) for his “Interlocking Block or Ecoblock” invention.
Organized by the Technology Application and Promotion Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-TAPI), the NICE was vied by sixty-nine (69) entries nationwide in the different categories – Tuklas or Outstanding Invention (2), Outstanding Utility Model (13), Industrial Design (4), LIKHA or Outstanding Creative Research (18), SIBOL or Outstanding Creative Research-College (15) and, SIBOL or Outstanding Creative Research-High School (17).
NICE is a biennial activity which showcases Filipinos’ innovative creativity and recognizes the indispensability of the Filipino inventors for national economic development. The entries to the NICE are winners of the Regional Invention Contest and Exhibit (RICE).
For Bo, joining in the contest is not his topmost priority but putting his ideas to reality and making it useful are. Bo recounted the challenges he faced during the conduct of research and development in many of his inventions. He, after weathering many difficulties that includes financial crises and the unbelief of many kababayans had survived by continuously innovating.
In a recent radio interview with Dr. Josephine Agapito, host of the “Pinoy Scientist” Program of DZEC-Radyo Agila, Bo proudly presented his winning invention “Ecoblock” which addresses the problem of bank erosion that is mostly triggered by intense rainfall and flooding.
Ecoblocks are flexible concrete revetment which restore and stabilize unstable and eroded riverbanks. Its unique, octagon-shaped, interlocking concrete blocks are placed on engineered geotextile filter fabric to protect against soil erosion.
Ecoblocks’ additional feature, the open areas in the system allows for the relief of hydraulic pressure ensuring system integrity throughout the installation. When assembled, Ecoblocks’ open-cell type provides a void space to allow for re-vegetation.
Bo’s efforts for Ecoblock were basically focused on the design and how each block would interlock while taking careful considerations of the production cost.
Bo also recalled that during the early days of his research and development for many of his inventions, the government support for inventors was not much compared to other countries. Likewise, the fact that many Filipinos are not supportive of Filipino products, his inventions are no exemption.
“Back then, my research and development for my Coco Husk invention was supported by the Canadian Government” Engr. Arboleda recounted. “Today, the coco fiber net technology for soil erosion control is used along Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) and Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX)”, he added.
The Coco Technologies Corporation has an on-going billion peso project with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) using Ecoblocks in building the CAMANAVA Polder Dike which spans eight (8) kilometers and now on its Phase 4, 5 and 6.
Asked for pieces of advice to inventors and researchers, Bo simply said, “Work on your ideas. Enjoy creating. Recognition will follow later, but most important is your reputation. Don’t be easily discouraged if some people will make fun of you. Never give up, keep innovating!”.
Engr. Justino “Bo” R. Arboleda is an agriculture engineer by profession. He manages the Coco Technologies Corporation which comprises 18 staff – 1 is an architect and all others are agricultural engineers.
Engr. Arboleda is also one of the beneficiaries of the Venture Financing Program of DOST-TAPI which helped put up his pilot factory. Engr. Arboleda received financial assistance from TAPI amounting to P1,702,250.
The financial assistance was used to acquire various equipment such as needle punching machine, feeding unit, edge trimming device and transversal cutter to process coconut husks into coir which was able to produce commercial quantities of coco coir products at lower costs; expand into other coir products such as coco peat, pots, mats and filters; and create more jobs for small scale coconut farmers in the Bicol Region.
DOST-TAPI S&T Media Service
Pierre Sonia S. Dela Corte