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Research, development sector to get 18% fund hike

Delon Porcalla - The Philippine Star
Research, development sector to get 18% fund hike
Albay Rep. Joey Salceda revealed yesterday that the Department of Budget and Management had given assurance of the increase in the 2022 National Expenditure Program for R&D to the House leadership.
STAR / Edd Gumban, file

MANILA, Philippines — The country’s research and development sector, under which a virology center is being developed, is assured of getting 18 percent more funding next year.

Albay Rep. Joey Salceda revealed yesterday that the Department of Budget and Management had given assurance of the increase in the 2022 National Expenditure Program (NEP) for R&D to the House leadership.

“The capitalization for research institutions such as the Virology Institute of the Philippines (VIP) is also included in the 2022 NEP,” said Salceda, chair of the House ways and means committee and author of the VIP bill.

The proposed VIP (HB 9559) and Creation of a Philippine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (HB 9560), both authored by Salceda, were already approved by the House on third and final reading last July 28.

“While I understand our revenue constraints better than anybody in Congress, I hope that the Committee on Appropriations will at least approve an increase in our current R&D spending and commit the country to greater R&D funding in the future,” the economist-lawmaker said.

Salceda, who had cited the country as among the lowest spenders in R&D in the world, has requested that at least P50 billion be committed to R&D across agencies for 2022.

“The wealth of nations is now knowledge-driven. The solutions to our most life-threatening problems are knowledge driven. We must invest in R&D not only so that we may grow, but so that we may survive,” he stressed.

Earlier, he called on President Duterte’s economic managers to at least “commit the country to greater R&D funding in the future” – the nearest of which is the 2022 budget to be taken up probably this August.

Salceda aims to meet a target one percent of gross domestic product in R&D funding by 2025, arguing that Israel, the Netherlands, Singapore and South Korea, which are among world’s wealthiest countries, also spend the biggest in R&D.

“The economics is simple: while people and resources set a country’s initial potential, investing in science moves its production possibilities frontier ever-forward,” he said.

“As more global wealth is generated by knowledge, not resources or sheer labor, R&D is no longer just beneficial. In a hypercompetitive global economy, it is a matter of survival,” he added.

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) hailed the approval of the proposed Science for Change Program (S4CP) Bill by the House committee on appropriations.

“With approved and implemented S4CP Bill, there will be continuing support from government, industry and academe to STI (Science and Technology and Innovation) for inclusive, equitable and sustainable development,” said Science Secretary Fortunato de la Peña. – Edu Punay, Rainier Allan Ronda, Cecille Suerte Felipe

DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT
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