Members of the House of the House of Representatives on Monday, Sept. 2, pushed for a bigger budget for the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) for fiscal year 2020.
The House members made their manifestations during the budget briefing of the House Committee on Appropriations presided by panel vice chair Micaela Violago of Nueva Ecija.
The DOST’s budget proposal is P20.18 billion, which is P79.85 million lower than its 2019 allocation of P20.26 billion.
In his presentation, DOST secretary Fortunato de la Peña shared that the Philippines climbed 19 spots and ranked number 54 in the Global Innovation Index this year through the research and development efforts of the agency.
Some of the key initiatives of the DOST that helped address the concerns of the Filipinos include the Anti-Dengue Program, the Malnutrition Reduction Program, the creation of Hybrid Electric Trainsets, the development of the environment-friendly and cost-efficient biofertilizers, and the production of Vigormin Organo Mineral for septic/waste water treatment, among others.
When asked about the economic impact of these projects, DOST undersecretary Rowena Guevera noted that the agency generates P30 in taxes and employment for every peso of investment.
With this, Aklan representative Teodorico Haresco Jr. pushed to increase the agency’s budget by at least P5 billion for all the provinces across the country.
“The budget of the DOST is obviously very low… All the provinces take advantage of what DOST is now proactively implementing all over the Philippines,” he said.
Kabataan party-list representative Sarah Elago likewise expressed hope for the DOST’s budget augmentation as she narrated her personal encounter with the department as well as its endeavors to advance science and technology in the country.
“High school pa lang po ako, nagagawi na ako sa DOST. Graduate po ako ng Parañaque Science High School. Dito ko po nakita kung paano ‘yung science and technology can serve for the common good. That’s why I really lament that you have a very meager budget. Science and technology should be our top priority,” Elago said.
Meanwhile, Lanao del Norte representative Abdullah Dimaporo called for his fellow legislators to support the DOST. He said the agency needs the support of the local government units in terms of funding to fully implement their programs.
“I’d like to commit the province of Lanao del Norte to be a partner [of] the DOST. With the idea of convergence, together, with the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Trade and Industry, we can work for poverty alleviation,” Dimaporo said.