PH budget for science, technology lowest in ASEAN

Published September 14, 2020, 4:20 PM

by Dhel Nazario

Comparing Philippine government expenditures for Science and Technology (S&T) and Research and Development (R&D) with its Asian neighbors would show that our country allocates the least amount, observed Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato de la Peña during the Palace press briefing on Monday.

Department of Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato dela Peña
(TOTO LOZANO / Presidential Photo / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

“Kaya nga po ayoko nang pag-usapan iyan dahil tayo’y nandoon sa bandang ibaba (That’s why I avoid talking about the amount we spend on R&D and S&T because are at the bottom compared to others),” De la Peña said.

Dahil po ang ating mga original na kasama sa ASEAN kung ihahambing natin talagang mas mababa na tayo sa kanila (Because if we will compare ourselves with the other original members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations [ASEAN], we are at the bottom,” he added.

Original founders of ASEAN are Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

“Ang medyo malungkot, halimbawa ang bansang katulad ng Vietnam na bago rin sa ASEAN ay nauuna na pagdating diyan (What’s a bit sad is that Vietnam which is a new member of ASEAN, has surpassed us when it comes to that,” Dela Pena said.

Dela Pena recently said in a text message to Manila Bulletin that “we could surpass many of our ASEAN neighbors if our proposed yearly increases are given.”

He added that DOST’s programs to push regional development in the provinces through science, technology and innovation (STI) will be at a lesser scale and their assistance to technology based start-ups will be very limited.

 Dela Pena also disclosed during the briefing that Government Expenditures for Research and Development (GERD) as a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) averages 1 percent worldwide according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).  The Philippines’ expenditures are at 0.15 percent.
  
“But on the other hand if we compare the DOST budget versus the total national budget it is 0.5 percent or one-half of 1 percent,” he added.

The DOST budget of P23.890 billion is higher by P3.367 billion or a 16.4 percent increase over the current year’s budget of P20.524 billion. The secretary said that the big portion of the increase goes to scholarships, and the establishment of the Virology S&T Institute of the Philippines. 

Dela Pena said that now he is focusing on the country’s performance in the Global Innovation Index (GII) wherein the is Philippines ranked 50th among 131 economies.

He earlier said that the department considers this as major news because it is a testament that DOST’s efforts in spearheading science, technology, and innovation are bearing fruits.   

 
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