In collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology – National Research Council of the Philippines (DOST-NRCP), the House of Representatives held on Thursday, February 7, a forum to bridge scientific research and policy development.
The “NRCP – Legislative Scientific Forum for Policy Development” proposes to create synergistic and collaborative work between the NRCP and the House, on funded basic researches of the NRCP and how they can be incorporated into the creation and amendment of laws.
Moreover, the forum sought to deepen the understanding, relevance, and appreciation of congressional committee secretaries and staff in basic researches as bases for sound legislations.
“This is a significant step in helping the legislative branch appreciate and consider evidence-based information in the legislation process. We certainly need to make our legislation to be more empirical and scientific. As legislators of this country, we hope to give our people the highest form of service through legislation. And one way to demonstrate this is to make our legislation closer to the truth and make it reflective to the realities of life,” said Rep. Alberto Ungab (3rd District, Davao City), vice chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture and Food.
Deputy secretary-general Romulo Miral of the House Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department (CPBRD), echoed the need for an evidence- and results-based legislative process.
“Kaya napakaimportante na ‘yong mga polisiya ay nababatay sa mga pag-aaral at sayantipikong ebidensiya o iyong tinatawag natin na evidence-based policymaking… [Importante din] iyong pagpapahalaga sa resulta o yung tinatawag na results-based. Kaya ito dapat ang pag-aralan natin, kung papaano na iyong ating ginagawa nababatay doon sa dapat maging resulta. Hindi doon sa intention lang,” Miral explained.
“Kinakailangan talaga na magkaroon tayo ng saligan, ng batayan. Ang batayan na iyan ay ang tinatawag nating research,” Miral said.
House Legislative Operations Department (LOD) Bill Drafting Service director Jose Noel Garong stressed the importance of cooperation between researchers and policymakers, citing the relationship between the LOD and CPBRD.
“Ang problema sa amin ay we are lawyers, but pagdating sa science ay hindi ganoon kataas ang aming awareness. So it is good that from time to time the legislative research sa CPBRD, they provide us with these materials and studies that we use in drafting measures,” Garong said.
The forum featured the funded research work of NRCP Regular Member and University of the Philippines-Los Baños researcher Dr. Nelly Aggangan on Greening Mined-out Areas in the Philippines.
The study of Aggangan showed remarkable results from bioremediation strategies for rehabilitation of mine-tailing areas in Mogpog, Marinduque. Soil that had become infertile and denuded because of heavy mining activity was made productive again through the use of specially developed microbial fertilizers.
The success of her study makes it extremely relevant to areas of the country where there is ecological and even health problems caused by mining activity — an issue frequently tackled by House Committees on Science and Technology, Health, Local Governance, and Agriculture, among others.
The collaboration of the House and the NRCP is in line with efforts to effectively conduct and utilize research for development, which will strengthen the role of science and basic research in creating meaningful governance through policymaking and legislation. — Czarina Engracia