Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV recently met with scientists and other stakeholders to tackle and iron out the priority measures of the Committee on Science and Technology, which he chairs.
“Ngayong naipasa na ng kumite ang libreng Internet sa mga pampublikong lugar, sunod naman nating tututukan ang Balik Scientist Bill at Innovative Startup Act para matulungan ang ating mga kababayan sa larangan ng agham at teknolohiya,” said Aquino.
During the round-table discussion, Aquino presented Senate Bill 1183 or the Balik Scientist Bill, Senate Bill No. 175 or the Innovative Startup Act and Senate Bill No. 679 or the Magna Carta for Scientists to help address the issue as priority measures of his committee.
Before the Senate went on a session break, it passed Senate Bill No. 1277 or the Free Internet Access in Public Places Act on third and final reading via 18-0 vote.
“There are initiatives that should be beyond politics. As chairman of the Committee on SciTech, we need to lay the foundation of a modern and prosperous society. Proper utilization of SciTech will be crucial in this aspiration,” he added.
The Balik Scientist Bill seeks to provide overseas Filipino scientist with financial benefits and incentives to encourage to return to the Philippines and help boost the country’s research and development.
The measure aims to institutionalize the Balik Scientist Program of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), which successfully encouraged some of Filipino scientists to return and contribute to research that will address development gaps in the Philippines.
The Balik Scientist Program provides financial incentives for overseas Filipino scientists and facilitates their return to work on either a short-term or long-term basis.
“We also want the Balik Scientist Program to involve our schools and the private sector. Let’s exhaust all efforts to repatriate our talented Filipino scientists,” the lawmaker said.
The Innovative Startup Act, for its part, seeks to give necessary support for business startups to help them thrive and compete in the market.
The amendments to the Magna Carta for Scientists aims to streamline the process of providing benefits and incentives to S&T government personnel.
Aquino said he hopes to craft a working draft before session resumes on May 2 for the amendments to the Magna Carta for Scientists (RA 8439) and the institutionalization of the Balik Scientists Program.
During the round-table discussion, stakeholders also raised several issues that hamper the development of science and technology in the country, including lack of support from government. He said the government’s science and technology initiatives must be fine-tuned to address these problems.