By Gen Kabiling
An initial P1 billion will be earmarked by the government to bankroll the implementation of the “Philippine Innovation Act” signed by President Duterte.
In Republic Act No. 11293, the government adopts innovation as vital component of country’s development policies to promote inclusive growth and enhance competitiveness of small businesses and will develop and implement innovation goals and strategies.
An Innovation Fund, with an initial amount of P1 billion, will also be established to strengthen entrepreneurship and enterprises engaged in developing innovation solutions benefiting the poor. The funds will be sourced from the annual national budget.
The new law declares the State’s policy “to foster innovation as a vital component of national development and sustainable economic growth.” It aims to generate and scale up action in all levels and areas of education, training, research and development towards promoting innovation and internationalization activities of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) as driver of sustainable and inclusive growth.
A National Innovation Council will be created to develop, monitor and review the country’s innovation goals, priorities and long-term national strategy. The President will serve as chairperson while the National Economic and Development Authority director general will act as vice chairperson.
The members of the council are the secretaries of science and technology, trade, agriculture, environment, health, transportation, energy, national defese, information and communications technology, budget, education, interior and local government, foreign affairs, and labor as well as chair fo the Commission on Higher Education, Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines director general, and seven executive members appointed by the president.
The council is also mandated to develop a 10-year National Innovation Agenda and Strategy Document (NIASD).
The NIASD will establish the country’s vision for innovation and provide a roadmap for improving innovation governance. The national plan, which includes innovation priority areas and strategies to realize such goals, must be completed within six months from the effectivity of the law.
“In order to effectively drive innovation across all areas of government policy – spanning education, training, health, energy, communication, industry, science and technology, defense among others, a whole of government approach shall be adopted,” the law read. Such approach shall facilitate engagement with business, research development and extension program sector, MSMEs, and broader community towards full implementation of the country’s innovation agenda.
A development of innovation development credit and financing program will also be developed to generate innovation. Such program includes loans and other financing activities for the development of new technologies, product, market, and marking innovation.
The new law also required all public and private banks to set aside 4 percent of their total loanable funds for innovation development credit.
To promote public awareness and support for innovation, the law also declared April 21 of every year as National Innovation Day. The date will be a special working public holiday across the country.