LEGAZPI CITY, Albay: To boost the country’s scientific invention and innovation competitiveness, Albay Rep. Joey Salceda (2nd District) is pushing for a P672-billion budget for science and technology.
He said the current total research and development (R&D) budget for 2017 is P5.8 billion.
During the last six years, Salceda noted, the Philippines’ scientific and technological indicators have improve significantly, based on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) benchmark.
Unesco prescribes that for a developing country, there should be 380 researchers, scientists and engineers (RSEs) per million population and the percentage of Gross Domestic Products (GDP) expenditure on research and development or GERD, should be one percent.
The number of RSEs in the country has increased from 180 in 2009 to 270 in 2013, while the budget of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has increased from P5.7 billion in 2009 to P20.8 billion in 2017, with R&D budget allocation increasing from P1 billion in 2009 to P5.8 billion in 2017.
Salceda said that for the DOST R&D, the Philippine Science High School (PSHS) and the Science Education Institute (SEI) have significantly contributed to the RSEs.
The PSHS increased the number of regional campuses from 11 in 2010 to 16 in 2016, therefore providing one PSHS campus per region. The number of students in PSHS is set to increase from 1,840 in 2009 to 8,083 in 2017, and 9,500 in 2021.
The SEI increase the freshman intake of scholars from 1,250 in 2010 to 5,590 in 2015, and has crafted the Grand Plan for science and technology human resource development such that the Philippines is seen to achieve 380 RSEs by 2022, Salceda said.
The DOST, according to the congressman, shall endeavor to significantly accelerate science and technology and innovation in the country through massive increase in investment in S&T and R&D through the program.
The program, according to him, has a big budget capturing all R&D efforts for the above stated 5-year period that include niche centers in the regions for R&D (NICER), total of P3.2 billion; leadership program (RDLead) with P6 billion; collaborative R&D to Leverage PH Economy (CRADLE) for RDIs and Industry, P3.2 billion; business innovation through S&T (BIST) for Industry, P14.25 billion.