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House committee okays proposed Science for Change Act

The House of Representatives’ Committee on Science and Technology has approved the proposed Science for Change Act, which is now pending in the chamber’s Committee on Appropriations.

Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda, Committee on Ways and Means chairman

and the bill’s principal author, says the reform embodied in the measure will help ensure that there will be “a conducive ecosystem for scientific and technological development in the country.”

He says global wealth has become increasingly built on technological advancement.

“I want the Philippines to become the leading hub for research and development in the region, the way it used to be. Leading research agencies like the International Rice Research Institute, leading tech manufacturers like Texas Instruments and others used to see the Philippines as the place to be in the region. We can do it again,” Salceda said.

“One problem is we did not pay enough attention and resources over the years to Science and Technology. Among the largest Asean economies, only Indonesia spends less than we do as a share of its GDP on research and development. We spend around 0.16 percent of our GDP on research and development. Vietnam spends nearly three times that at 0.44 percent. Singapore takes the lead among all ASEAN countries at 2 percent of GDP on R&D. It seems economic development is highly correlated with research spending, and for good reason, because knowledge builds the wealth of nations,” he said in a statement.

Salceda’s bill would create a Harmonized National Research and Development Agenda, expand key programs of the Department of Science and Technology, dedicate a Science for Change Fund, mandate the adoption by government agencies of state-supported technological developments and foster private-public partnerships for science.

“We need an ecosystem for science and technology in the country.

Technology has always driven development throughout human history. If we stay behind in investments in science, we will stay behind in economic development. The formula is so simple,” Salceda said.

The bill would also mandate that the government eventually spend 2 percent of the national budget on science and technology.

Topics: House of Representatives , Committee on Science and Technology , Science for Change Act , Joey Sarte Salceda
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