Press Release
October 12, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara said that investments in research and development (R&D) should be placed into strategic and comprehensive programs to solve the country's most pressing issues.

Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, noted that the Philippines scored zero for R&D environment in the IT Industry Competitiveness Index 2011 of the Business Software Alliance (BSA).

R&D environment refers to the level of state and private sector R&D spending, number of new domestic patents each year and receipts from royalty and license fees.

"We have not poured enough resources into helping our country's brilliant thinkers come up with solutions for our problems. Yet, the little funds that we do earmark go into research that does not necessarily have national impact or whose results are not easily commercialized. The zero score only means we ought to streamline and consolidate the way government-funded R&D is conducted," said Angara.

In the BSA study, the Philippines tied with Bangladesh and fell behind Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

A 2009 report from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) showed that the Philippines only had 125 scientists and engineers actively engaged in R&D for every million Filipinos. The UNESCO average for developing nations is 380 per 1 million people.

"To rectify this, we need to lay out national research programs and make sure nothing is duplicated. This means that all stakeholders will have to work closely with each other," said Angara, Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science, Technology and Engineering (COMSTE).

Recently, the veteran lawmaker called for the creation of innovation clusters as three-way partnerships in R&D among government agencies, the academe and the private sector. Each innovation cluster will follow a milestone-driven program and focus on a key national issue.

During their respective Senate budget hearings, the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) committed to provide funding for four (4) innovation clusters namely algae research and commercialization; cloud computing and Software as a Service (SaaS); disaster science and management; and non-adversarial mining technologies.

"I am glad that the DOST, CHED and our SUC's have unanimously welcomed our proposal. I am hopeful that other government agencies--as well as players in the private sector--will follow suit. This is the only way any R&D spending can be made responsive to the country's needs," said Angara.

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