Innovation spurs PH’s forward jump in global index, science chief says


 Sec. de la Peña Sec. de la Peña

Department of Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña bannered the Philippines’ innovation strengths as contributing factor to the Philippines’ notable jump to 54th from last year’s 73rd in the Global Innovation Index (GII). The index covered 129 economies worldwide.

Philippines also placed 42nd this year in terms of innovation outputs, referring to the impact of innovation initiatives. Further, the country ranked as number 1 worldwide in the category of High-tech Net Exports Percentage Total Trade which the science chief attributed to the 60 percent increase in semiconductors manufacturing.

Moreover, Sec. de la Peña said that the Philippines ranked sixth worldwide in terms of Research Talent Percentage in Business Enterprises, showing that the country is able to translate research initiatives into tangible benefits for business.

Further, the country ranked eighth worldwide in the field of Creative Goods Export Percentage Total Trade because of the increasing presence of Filipinos in the creative arts business involving animation, gaming, and other related fields.

With the much improved performance of the country as recognized by international organizations, Sec. de la Peña heralded DOST’s completed and ongoing programs on innovative technologies.

In support of the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), the DOST chief said, 

“Our Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program or SETUP has helped many MSMEs improve their productivity and competitiveness that address the GII criteria on technology absorption and technology diffusion.” 

He further said that the program has components that support MSMEs like oneSTore, an electronic ordering system, where SETUP beneficiaries can market their products online. 

He also mentioned OneLab in which the DOST provides laboratory testing and analysis of MSMEs’ products through a network of laboratories nationwide. 

“With the OneLab project we are able to provide testing and analysis services to our MSMEs in the regions without them going to Manila because DOST will take care of forwarding the material to laboratories that are capable of testing the desired parameters,” explained Sec. de la Peña. “After the testing, the results are forwarded to the clients. They no longer have to make follow ups.”

The science chief cited that the laboratories of the Department of Health plus some 10 private laboratories are already part of the network, including two laboratories in Thailand and one in Vietnam.

To strengthen the R&D efforts of the Department, Sec. de la Peña said that the Science for Change Program was created with close collaboration with the state universities and colleges (SUCs) based in the regions.

“The program has four component projects called NICER, RD Lead, CRADLE, and BIST,” said Sec. de la Peña. Through this program, we are able to conduct researches in different areas like white potato by the Benguet State University, tamarind by the Pampanga State Agricultural University, and on renewable energy by the Ateneo de Davao University.” 

NICER stands for Niche Centers in the Regions, a project that aims to establish R&D centers in the regions to spur regional development. To date there are 14 NICER Centers all over the country and the number is still growing.

Sec. de la Peña showcased the many innovative products that the DOST developed through extensive R&D, such as the Hybrid Electric Train that is now adopted by the Philippine National Railways; Biotek-M Dengue Aqua Kit for early detection of dengue; the Space Technology Program that resulted in the creation of the Diwata satellites; the carrageenan as plant food supplement developed by the DOST-Philippine Nuclear Research Institute using irradiation technology.

Other initiatives include the Universal Structural health Evaluation and Recording (USHER) System, a cost-effective 24/7 health monitoring system; the Contactless Apprehension of Traffic Violators on a 24-Hour Basis and All-Vehicle Detection System (CATCH-ALL) software that monitors traffic situations and track violators; the Eco-Sep Vigormin Organo Mineral for septic waste water treatment; and the Hazard Hunter app, a software application developed by DOST-PHIVOLCS to identify, assess, and provide action recommendations for both geological and hydro-meteorological hazards like earthquake, tsunami, landslide, flood, etc.  

The Global Innovation Index 2019 (GII), in its 12th edition this year, is co-published by Cornell University, INSEAD, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a specialized agency of the United Nations. The main focus of the GII Report consists of the ranking of world economies’ innovation capabilities and results.