December 6, 2022

An official of the Department of Science and Techno-logy said the Science for Change Program (S4CP) must be a priority bill, as this would provide guaranteed funding for research and development (R&D) and establishment of niche centers.
“It should be a priority bill. Without substantial R&D funding, the Philippines will forever be in a catch-up mode on developing technologies for the people’s needs, from responding to a pandemic, to making our agricultural and manufacturing sectors more competitive,” DOST Usec. Rowena Cristina Guevara said.
The bill, which aims to address the disparity in R&D funding in the regions and the lack of R&D in the private sector, hurdled the House Committee on Appropriations on Aug. 4.
Guevara said the measure seeks for the establishment of the S4CP and guarantees funding for the succeeding years.
“This way, R&D funding will increase yearly, until two percent of the General Appropriations Act is achieved as an R&D budget. Currently, it is at 0.47 percent,” she said.
With a guaranteed funding for the S4CP, she said more niche centers could be established and more “RD leaders” could be deployed to universities, institutions that need them.
RD leaders are tasked to help higher education institutions (HEIs) increase their published works in journals, their pa-tents, and other innovative products.
They will also guide the HEIs in their research and in improving their laboratories.
The DOST noted S4CP as a program has achieved various scientific outputs since 2016.
The DOST has funded 38 niche centers for R&D in 17 regions with a funding of P1.89 billion for universities and R&D Institutes.
Forty-two RD leaders were deployed in 16 regions to share their expertise and promote regional development, the DOST added.
Guevara said the Economic Development Cluster (EDC) headed by the Department of Finance pushed for the approval of the S4CP bill.
“The EDC members see the importance of investing in R&D for economic and social development,” she said. – PNA