Image by Rachel Ganacial

A foot-operated alcohol dispenser prototype against COVID-19 was showcased recently by a faculty member of the College of Hospitality Management and Tourism (CHMT) at the main campus of the Palawan State University (PSU).

Victor Albert Yumol, culinary instructor at PSU and head of its utility and environmental management office, demonstrated Thursday the use of the non-contact alcohol dispenser that has now seen distribution and use on the whole campus.

Made of mostly scrap materials, Yumol told Palawan News that he was inspired in May to design the touch-free dispenser after learning about the one innovated by the students of the University of the Philippines (UP).

Image by Rachel Ganacial

He said per guidance by Dr. Danny Aquino, their university doctor, their design should be something safe for the students and teachers.

He said dispensers that are not foot-operated can still transfer COVID-19, especially if their users are possible carriers.

“Sabi ni Dr. Aquino, ganoon din, halimbawa may COVID yong makakahawak, maiiwan din sa lid ng alcohol ang virus. Kaya sabi niya mag-isip ng naiiba at nakita namin ito. Naghintay kami ng feedback, naglagay kami muna sa may guardhouse,” he said.

“Lahat kasi sila out of scraps, ‘yong physical appearance niya ay hindi pa ganoon kaganda kasi out of scrap materials. Sa susunod puwede na kami gumawa ng mas malinis,” Yumol added.

He started with his first model using PVC pipes. However, he observed that it was bulky so he resorted to using iron metals and developed his third design with a convenient holder for alcohol bottles.

Yumol said that his love for the university was also the inspiration behind his hand-free alcohol dispenser design. The aim is to also help the community to combat the spread of the virus.

Image by Rachel Ganacial

Yumol and his team had already created 27 foot pedal alcohol dispensers distributed in colleges in PSU and the administrative building. Aside from dispensers, he also made a handwashing station near the guardhouse.

He said the goal now is to keep using the dispensers even after the pandemic because cleanliness should also be everyone’s business.

“Malaking bagay ito, kasi nga prevention is better than cure. Hindi naman siguro masama na maya’t maya [mag-alcohol] at puwede ‘yan i-adapt ng households. Sabi nga ni Dean [Judy Ann] Sarail, gawin naming extension sa mga centers parang livelihood. Sa extension program namin, I’m sure meron ‘yan sa mga bahay-bahay na PVC lang din, sa alulod lang na nasira, puwede nila gamitin ‘yon,” he said.

He said that he is willing to share the idea through the CHMT extension service. This can be done by his team as soon as enrollment is over.

Even households can save money, he said, because alcohol use is controlled and not wasted.

“Ang maganda kasi niyan ay makakatipid ang isang household natin. Kapag binuksan may natatapon, marami. Ito naman puwede mong i-adjust kung gusto mo na malakas ‘yong pump ng lalabas na alcohol, kung kaunti lang, puwedeng i-adjust,” he said.

“Isang PVC lang naman na .90 meters lang o depende sa height — puwede naman nila i-adjust sa height nila — isang pirasong bakal, isang tie wire o lumang kadena ng aso, puwede nila i-insert doon. Lalagariin lang, kahit babae ang gumawa ay kayang-kaya,” he said.

The university had already sent two units to its campus in Barangay San Rafael.

Being innovative is nothing new to Yumol and his team at PSU. They are used to turning out scrap materials into something useful — fallen trees, broken chairs, and all.

“Ako naman ay masayang-masaya kasi actually wala naman akong plano na makilala, talagang for the love of PSU lang na makatulong sa community. Masaya na makatulong lang, nag-innovate lang naman tayo ng puwede natin magawa,” he said.

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is one of the senior reporters of Palawan News. She covers agriculture, business, and different feature stories. Her interests are collecting empty bottles, aesthetic earrings, and anything that is color yellow.