In a move to recognize their contribution to the country’s growth in terms of research and development, Sen. Paolo Benigno ?Bam? Aquino IV is pushing for two measures that will promote the welfare of Filipino scientists and researchers.
“Sad to say, the contribution and welfare of Filipino scientists and engineers and researchers are undervalued in the Philippines. That’s why many of them leave the country to look for greener pastures abroad,” said Aquino, chairman of the Committee on Science and Technology.
Aquino is currently working on the passage of Senate Bill 1183 or the Balik Scientist Bill and Senate Bill No. 679 or the Magna Carta for Scientists to strengthen support for Filipino scientists.
“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 and these measures could help in achieving our goal,” added Sen. Bam.
The Balik Scientist Program provides financial incentives for overseas Filipino scientists and facilitates their return to work on either a short-term, medium-term or long-term basis.
The measure aims 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 and address development gaps in the Philippines.
The amendments to the Magna Carta for Scientists aim to streamline the process of providing benefits and incentives to S&T government personnel.
During a committee hearing, it was discovered that the Philippines needs 19,000 more scientists working in both government and private sector to turn the country into a significant force in research and development.
Currently, the Philippines has 189 scientists per million, far from the ideal target of 380 per million. The number also pales in comparison with other countries as South Korea and United States have 5,300 and 3,500 scientists per million, respectively. Malaysia, for its part, has 2,000 scientists per million.
“Sa tulong ng panukalang ito, mahihikayat natin ang mga Filipino scientist sa ibang bansa na bumalik sa Pilipinas at tumulong sa pagpapaunlad ng ating research and development,” said Aquino, referring to the Balik Scientist Bill.