Bill on ‘Balik Scientist’ set to become law after hurdling bicam

The Balik Scientist Act has hurdled the bicameral conference committee in the Senate and is now closer to becoming a law.

The Senate contingent, led by Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino and the House panel, headed by Erico Aumentado, ironed out the disagreeing provisions of their respective versions.

Once the Senate and House ratify the approved version of the measure, it will be transmitted to Malacanang for President Duterte’s signature.

“Once enacted into law, this should encourage Filipino scientists to return to the country and help in the nation’s research and development,” said Aquino, principal author and sponsor of the Senate version of the bill.

Aquino said this will also address the lack of science professionals caused by the exodus of scientists and researchers to other countries.

The measure aims to provide overseas Filipino scientists with financial benefits and incentives to encourage them to return to the Philippines and help boost the country’s research and development.

It seeks to institutionalize the Balik Scientist Program of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), which successfully encouraged some of our scientists to return and contribute to research that will help address development gaps in the Philippines.

A Balik Scientist is a science and technology expert or professional, as certified by the DOST, who is currently or who was formerly a Filipino citizen or a foreigner of Filipino descent, residing abroad, and contracted by the government to return and serve in the Philippines along his or her field of expertise under short, medium, or long term engagement.

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