Legarda wants gov’t to push for innovation, competitiveness to spur workforce

Deputy Speaker and Antique lone District Rep. Loren Legarda has urged the Duterte government to mainstream innovation and competitiveness in all its programs and initiatives, especially those concerning the country’s workforce.

Deputy Speaker and Antique Rep. Loren Legarda (Congresswoman Loren Legarda Official Facebook Page / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Legarda made the call during the recent virtual meeting of Arts and Culture and Creative Industries Bloc (ACCIB) of the House of Representatives with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Design Center of the Philippines (DCP), and Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM).

“Innovation is a vital component of the country’s development policies. Thus, we have to mainstream innovation and competitiveness in all government programs. If implemented properly, this will help bolster active micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), produce a highly skilled workforce, and promote competitiveness through the use and adoption of technological advancements in our different industries and sectors,” the principal author of the Philippine Innovation Act said.

She called for the full-blown implementation of Republic Act No. 11923 or the Philippine Innovation Act, which was signed into law on April 17, 2019 to address the urgent concerns of the various sectors, particularly the MSMEs.

“Efficient utilization of the provisions of the Philippine Innovation Act will be of great help in addressing the pressing needs of the various sectors particularly the MSMEs, which will include coaching and mentoring in the areas of design, technology extension services, quality control, marketing and promotion, patents and other forms of intellectual property rights, among others,” Legarda said.

She noted that among the objectives of the RA No. 11923 are to strengthen the position of MSMEs in the innovation system; to adapt  the regulatory framework to support the creation of and diffusion of new knowledge, products, and processes; to encourage entrepreneurial attitude; and to explore, promote, and protect potentials for innovation of traditional knowledge, cultural expressions, and genetic resources.

“I encourage the relevant government agencies to adopt the tenets and spirit of the law to encourage creative thinking and creative innovation in pursuit of competitiveness,” the former senator said.

She cited the need to ensure that the DTI’s One Town One Product (OTOP) and Shared Service Facilities (SSF), and Department of Science and Technology’s Community Empowerment thru Science and Technology (CEST) and Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP) "are being utilized well.” The DTI and the DOST are among the implementing agencies of the Philippine Innovation Law.

 "Let us not just pursue inclusive growth and development.  All together, let us aim to become one of the innovation leaders in Asia,” Legarda said.

According to her, RA 11923 provides the creation of the National Innovation Council (NIC) that will establish the country’s vision and long-term goals for innovation and provide a roadmap and strategies for improving innovation governance through clear-cut delineation and complementation of innovation efforts across agencies; deepening and accelerating innovation efforts, including inclusive innovation programs that are targeting the poorest of the poor; and integrating and fostering Public-Private Partnership (PPP), including those with large businesses, MSMEs, academe and research and development institutions.

"The law aims to promote a culture of strategic planning and innovation to encourage creative thinking and knowledge creation and dissemination towards expanding and maintaining economic competitiveness; improve innovation governance in the country and compel the adoption of a long-term vision and focused priorities for innovation; ensure effective coordination and eliminate fragmentation of innovation policies and programs at all levels,” Legarda noted.