Press Release
October 21, 2006


Senator Edgardo J. Angara today called for in-depth and urgent review of both public and private sector programs in science & technology, and engineering research & development (R & D), with the aim of focusing and advancing these wealth-generating fields in the country to combat poverty.

In a hearing by the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, Angara called for emergency action on the state of Filipino competitiveness in science and engineering research, expressing concern over our rapidly slipping competitiveness.

Unless we act now, the damage will become irreversible, he added.

Over the last three years, our countrys competitiveness has consistently slipped. We are currently the 77TH competitive economy out of the 117 countries. This is because of our meager national investment on education, health, research and development, and basic infrastructure, he said.

That is a drop from 48TH place in 2001 to 77TH in 2006. Within a five-year period, the Philippines slid down 29 places, he continued.

Angara added that a thorough review of the state of competitiveness is a must for developing countries that need to build and strengthen their knowledge-based economies.

To do this, Angara together with Senator Ramon Magsaysay Jr. called for the creation of a Congressional Commission on Science, Engineering and Technology (COMSET) that will undertake a thorough and urgent assessment of the science and technology, and engineering research and development system in both public and private sectors.

The Commission will review the science education system in both public and private schools at all levels, especially graduate education. It will submit its finding and make a master plan for boosting science and technology, and engineering R & D.

The world has changed dramatically. If we are to grow as a nation, we need to prioritize our spending to improve our capacity for innovation. We need to be able to produce a wider array of quality goods and services, accelerate the pace of technological change, and integrate with the global economy, he said.

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