Solon raises alarm on PH slide in S&T innovation poll

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A lawmaker has called on the Aquino administration to work on enhancing the country?s capabilities in science and technology (S&T), as a report has shown that the Philippines dropped in terms of its ability to spur innovation.

The 2012 Global Innovation Index ? prepared by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the INSEAD Business School ? noted the Philippines as 91st among the 141 economies surveyed. This represents a four-step slump for the country compared to its 2011 rankings.

?Our economy is currently experiencing an upswing,? said Sen, Edgardo Angara, chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, noting that increased government spending on infrastructure has helped the country?s economy grow by 6.4 percent during the first quarter of the year.

?But without a long-term plan to address the so-called innovation gap and cultivate a national ecosystem for S&T and R&D, it will be harder for us to maintain this momentum for economic growth in the long-term,? said lawmaker.

For the 2012 Global Innovation Index, the Philippines received low marks for the study?s institutions and human capital and research pillars.

A separate study from the Department of Labor and Employment ? Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics (DOLE-BLES) showed that migration of S&T workers from the Philippines has more than doubled in the last 12 years, with ?nurses and midwives? and ?engineers? representing the top-two groups who left the country.

?These are only some of glimpses academics and researchers around the world have provided us into how badly we need to enhance our S&T as a nation,? said Angara, who is also chair of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture.

?This should be an imperative more so because of its direct impact on our national competitiveness.?

A recent report from the government?s Investor Relation Office (IRO) outlined the Aquino administration?s aim for the Philippines to land by 2016 in the upper 30 percent of global competitiveness rankings, such as those conducted by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and Switzerland-based academic and research institution IMD.

Many experts have contended that the Philippines has not been able to corner as much investments as other emerging Asian economies because of key constraints in infrastructure and the regulatory and business environment.

Angara said, ?Efforts are underway to address these issues, but we need to think harder on how our economy can change from being consumption-driven to becoming innovation-heavy.?

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