Press Release
October 30, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara underscored the Philippines' urgent need to innovate in the country policy statement he delivered at the 36th Session of the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris, France on Friday (Oct. 28).

Angara, head of the Philippine delegation to the UNESCO conference, said that the Philippines will be entering its demographic window in 2015, which will last until 2050 according to a U.N. study.

"Societies at this demographic stage have proportionally large working-age populations. They are, therefore, at their highest demographic potential for economic growth," said Angara.

"The Philippines will not be entering this period alone," he continued. "The demographic window for South Africa, Tajikistan, El Salvador, and French Guiana will begin at the same time. And every five years hence, until 2070, developing nations in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean will be entering theirs."

Angara stressed that this is an imminent and unparalleled opportunity for the developing world to stimulate rapid growth and provide a better quality of life for their people.

However, the world is faced with complex and demanding challenges--extreme poverty and hunger; acute income and social inequities; financial crises, climatic disturbances, and resource scarcities--that could only be managed and resolved through international cooperation.

At the same time, advancements in information and communication technologies (ICT) are revolutionizing how people live, learn, interact and do business.

"At the crux of this revolution is innovation. Indeed no society, no institution, no individual can survive such a rapid and relentless flow of change by being stagnant or passive," said Angara.

Separately, Angara challenged the Aquino administration to transform the Philippines into an innovation-oriented and technology-focused nation. "The Philippines, in particular, must invest in our countries' science and engineering capacity if we are to realize our demographic potential--if our nation of tens of millions is to survive the onslaught of change, much less prosper amid it.

"If the present administration wishes to leave a meaningful legacy, it should start building it now," he said.

Angara was chosen to lead the Philippine delegation for his long-standing efforts in promoting education, arts, culture and scientific development in the country.

He authored and sponsored landmark laws in these areas, such as the Free High School Act, Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Technical Education and Skill Development Authority (TESDA), the National Health Insurance Act (Philhealth), Senior Citizens Act, National Cultural Heritage Law, and the laws creating the National Museum, the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the Natatanging Manlilikha Award.

Angara is presently the Chair of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture and of the Congressional Commission on Science, Technology and Engineering.

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