As it remained as one of the most trusted government agencies, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has cited the need to continue increasing science literacy among the Filipinos.
DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development (R&D) Rowena Cristina L. Guevara said the country’s leaders should consider science and technology in their decision-making.
“The COVID-19 crisis presented an opportunity for science and technology to shine the light on responsive government and governance,” she said during the Southeast Asia Science Advice Network’s (SEA SAN) first webinar themed “Rebuilding Public Trust in Science” in collaboration with the International Network for Government Science Advice–Asia Regional Chapter (INGSA–Asia) held on Wednesday, July 28.
“To rebuild trust in science, our top decision-makers need to appreciate science and technology and have science advisers in the decision-making process. We need to continue solving pressing national problems with S&T to continuously increase science literacy as everyone can relate to national problems,” she stressed.
The DOST noted that from 2007 to 2017, research and development (R&D) received a steady budget increase and averaged at about 0.65 percent of the General Appropriations Act (GAA).
However, the share of R&D in the government budget in the last two years significantly decreased from 0.75 percent in 2019 to 0.37 percent in 2021, it laments.
During the webinar, Guevara said despite decreasing budget allocation, the DOST continues enjoying public approval.
Guevara cited the first quarter poll of PUBLiCUS Asia Inc. showing that DOST ranked third as the most trusted agency.
The independent, non-commissioned, national poll covered areas such as state of the economy and national issues. It was conducted from March 20 to 29, 2021.
She also mentioned the Wellcome Global Monitor Trust in Scientists Index globally which showed that 18 percent of people have a high level of trust in scientists, while 54 percent have a medium level of trust, 14 percent have low trust, and 13 percent have no opinion.
Based on the Wellcome Global Monitor Trust in Scientists Index, a rating of 30 percent and above means ‘high’ trust.”
Guevara noted that Wellcome is a foundation based in UK, which funds health research, leads policy and advocacy campaigns, and builds global partnerships.
The 2018 Index showed countries where people are most likely to have high trust in scientists.
The Philippines is ranked 16th in the Index, between New Zealand and Iceland, with 32 percent high trust, 52 percent medium trust, 13 percent low trust and 3 percent have no opinion, Guevara cited.