By Franz Jonathan de la Fuente

The recently razed Institute of Chemistry has found a benefactor to support its recovery efforts—its students.

In a forum held yesterday at the CS auditorium, CS students from different courses announced the launch of PhoenICS: Out of the Ashes, a project consolidating all fund-raising efforts toward the repair and rehabilitation of the Chemistry pavilion.

According to Assistant Chemistry Representative Missy Muyot, PhoenICS’s overall coordinator, the group was formed by students concerned over the fire that destroyed much of the Institute of Chemistry’s 2nd floor and adjoining walkways last week, with the aim of “centralizing all events ands fundraising activities” for the Institute of Chemistry. It is autonomous and not affiliated with any political organization.

“After seeing the news on Facebook about the fire, we thought, ‘Why not organize an informal organization that will help in the relief efforts?’” said a spokesperson for PhoenICS.

The administration has mobilized the Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Community Affairs, through Vice-Chancellor Cynthia Grace Gregorio in providing logistical assistance. On the other hand, the UP Chemistry Alumni Foundation (UPCAF) has opened a private BPI account solely for the Chemistry rehabilitation fund.

So far, PhoenICS has assisted in clean-up efforts such as sorting out reagents and glassware salvaged from the pavilions. Trained personnel wearing safety suits have been the only ones able to enter the building because of the hazardous toxic fumes emanating from the ashes.

Classes at NISMED

There have already been eight whiteboards, as well as faculty tables and chairs donated to the Institute, said Institute Director Dr. Florian del Mundo.

“Mahirap, pero kakayanin,” del Mundo said, grateful for the efforts of the CS students present.

The Office of the Campus Architect and the Campus Maintenance Office have deemed the pavilion walkways unsafe due to the cracks that formed post-fire, weakening the structure’s stability. Most of those affected were chemistry instructors and professors.

Faculty offices were still housed at the old Chemistry Pavilion at the time of the fire; research facilities have already moved to the new National Science Complex.

According to del Mundo, the current priority will be to transfer lecture classes to the National Science Complex building, while lab classes will be held at the laboratories at the National Institute for Science and Mathematics Education (NISMED) building, as agreed upon with NISMED director Dr. Merle C. Tan.


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