Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato de la Peña on Tuesday, July 13, said that the country continues to gain ground in science and technology (S&T) with various programs and projects completed over the recent years.
In his opening message at the 43rd Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) of National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST PHL), de la Peña said that the Philippines is also the “second top performer” in terms of frontier technologies readiness by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
“This review of our country recognizes the various initiatives that promote innovation and enhance frontier technologies,” de la Peña said.
Prior to the conduct of the 43rd ASM, de la Peña said that the NAST successfully conducted the first virtual Regional Scientific Meetings (RSMs) in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao in partnership with the DOST Regional Offices.
“The RSMs are vital because the discussions and regional perspective were used as bases of the presentations in the 43rd ASM,” de la Peña said.
De la Peña noted that another DOST-funded initiative is the Future Earth Philippines (FEP), a program initiated by National Scientist Lourdes J. Cruz which aims to boost the country’s capacity to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and Ambisyon 2040.
“Since 2018, various capacity building workshops for researchers, government agencies and civil society organizations have been organized under the FEP program as a means of assisting stakeholders in generating Knowledge-to-Action Programs and other sustainability initiatives,” de la Peña said. “The program also links the country with regional and global sustainability initiatives,” he added.
De la Peña noted that from DOST’s continuing investment on human resources development and providing the policy framework to bring science and technology in our development agenda, “I am proud of what our S&T community is now pursuing to cover even the more advanced technology areas such as space technology, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence and other emerging technology fields.”
“I am humbled by such milestones, at the same time, proud of what we have become,” he added.
When he assumed the post as Secretary of Science in 2016, de la Peña said that among the strategies is contract research and adopting a “demand-pull” strategy for research and development (R&D). “Through this, R&D institutes develop technologies based on the needs of the sector they serve,” he explained.
To date, de la Peña said that the DOST is implementing high-end and big-ticket programs and projects.
“All of these have been made possible by the continuous increase in funding, upskilling of S&T human resources, and creativity from our very own researchers, scientists, and engineers and strengthened collaboration with global and regional partners,” he said.
De la Peña that the collective efforts have also enabled the country to improve its ranking in the Global Innovation Index in 2020.
“In the span of four years, the country has moved 23 notches higher from its previous ranking of 73 in 2017 and 2018 to its current position at 50th spot among 131 economies,” he said. “This is also a tremendous leap from our country ranking 100th in 2014,” he added.
Given this, De la Peña assured that the DOST – through its mandate and capacity – will “continue to find means and create initiatives for the application of science and technology for the benefit of the people.”