UP ISSI, AIPO Support Filipino Inventor’s Quest for Clean Water

ernesto labuntog photo
(Left) Filipino inventor Ernesto Labuntog treats a murky water sample from the Marikina river; (Right) Ms. May Ann Udtojan of the Ateneo Intellectual Property Office collects a treated water sample from the device

CITY OF MARIKINA – The University of the Philippines Institute for Small-Scale Industries (UP ISSI) and the Ateneo Intellectual Property Office (AIPO) are collaborating to support Filipino inventor and engineer, Ernesto Labuntog, in his quest for clean water. On Monday, April 3, the AIPO arranged a testing demonstration at the Marikina River to assess the efficacy of Labuntog’s portable water treatment device and inventive pre-treatment process.

According to the inventor, this device together with the pre-treatment process can transform contaminated water into safe drinking water. This can be quite valuable not only during disaster situations but also at present as the country faces a water crisis. 

The invention features an easy-to-use and inexpensive mechanism, eliminating the need for specialized skills or electricity during operation. It is able to produce clear potable water at a cost of under 2 pesos per liter, which is a lot more affordable than typical bottled water.

Demo team collects water samples from Marikina River

During the demonstration, the team collected water samples from the Marikina River, which exhibited visible signs of pollution such as murkiness and floating debris. Labuntog applied his specialized pre-treatment process and then used the device to treat the polluted water sample. Within just 30 minutes, it effectively transformed the murky water back into a clear state. 

The AIPO submitted both the treated and untreated samples to the Department of Science and Technology – Industrial Technology Development Institute for further laboratory analysis.

Earlier in January, Labuntog sought the assistance of the UP ISSI and AIPO to help commercialize his invention. Since February, he has been receiving AIPO support through its Blue Nest incubation program. The AIPO, led by its director Dr. Proceso Fernandez Jr., along with Ms. May Ann Udtojan and Ms. Wilma Alamar, organized the testing demonstration in order to thoroughly validate Labuntog’s invention.

labuntog-family-with up-issi
UP ISSI, AIPO, Labuntog and his family pose for a group photo after the demo, with the portable water treatment device displayed in the middle.

The UP ISSI’s Business Enterprise Development Division also took part in the activity, with Ms. Marsha Lee Delfinado and Mr. Uziel Guthrie Naguit providing valuable assistance.

This activity marks a significant milestone in the journey towards commercializing Labuntog’s invention. It raises hopes for better access to clean drinking water, especially in areas plagued by pollution and water scarcity, both within the

country and around the world.

Labuntog is a member of the Filipino Inventors Society and has been researching water treatment since his retirement in 1996. In 2006, the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines granted him an invention patent for his portable water treatment device.


With inputs from the Ateneo Intellectual Property Office 

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