CAMARINES Sur Rep. Luis Ray Villafuerte wants the Duterte administration to give priority in the homestretch of its term to a two-pronged “brain gain” strategy seeking to utilize digital technology and increase the state’s budget for research and development to expand the country’s corps of scientists and engineers and entice them to stay and work here.
“We need to produce not just graduates of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses, but to keep them here and encourage those that have been working overseas to come back and help the country,” he said.
The Department of Science and Technology is on the right track in using digital tools, such as its planned online portal for the Balik Scientist Program, in an effort to lure future Filipino scientific experts and researchers back to the country. Rio N. Araja
Under the DOST initiative, aspiring Filipino scientists abroad may soon submit their applications to be Balik Scientists in the country through an online portal, Villafuert said.
He is one of the principal authors of Republic Act No. 11035 or the Act Institutionalizing the Balik Scientist Program.
He said Secretary Fortunato de la Peña himself lamented over the low budget for the research and development.
For almost 30 years now, the Philippines has allocated only 0.14 percent to a maximum of 0.18 percent of its GDP for R&D, which is way below the minimum of 2 percent of GDP recommended by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.