Press Releases

On Science for Change Bill

April 28th, 2021

Salceda’s “Science for Change” bill gains local industries’ support; House tax panel chair wants to increase funding for research and development to 1% of GDP

The Federation of Philippine Industries (FPI), an organization of Philippine manufacturers and producers of various domestic products, has expressed its full support for the passage of House Bill No. 4581, or the Science for Change Act, principally authored by Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district).

In a letter written to the House Ways and Means Committee Chair on April 22, the FPI said that they are concerned about the “uncertain economic future” of the contry’s businesses. The FPI says they believe that “we can address some of these concerns by enhancing the critical role of research and development in the country.”

The FPI also said that research and development could “usher in an era where innovation will leverage the country’s economic development.”

FPI added that Salceda’s proposal “perfectly fits the bill as it aims to enhance the competitiveness of our locally-made products in the international arena by accelerating the country’s infrastructure on science and technology.”

In response, Salceda said he appreciates the support of the FPI, especially given its “nationalistic attitude to industrial development.”

“The FPI is the umbrella group for some of this country’s core industries. I appreciate their support. I believe that very populous countries like the Philippines must aspire to some domestic industrialization,” Salceda said.

“I don’t think we should import everything. Far from it, I think we should maximize our comparative advantages. The only way to get better at producing goods and services is to do research and develop new technologies aimed at efficiency,” Salceda added.

R&D spending should be 1% of GDP

In an earlier speech to the Economic Development Cluster of the Duterte Cabinet, which has also expressed its support for the Science for Change Bill, Salceda said that with the proposal, “Within five years, we can reach the 1% of GDP prescribed by the UNESCO as the minimum R&D investment for a country to be competitive.”

“Our most important national problems – climate change, food security, and the pandemic – demand a scientific response. Our tightest regional competitor, Vietnam, knows this. As a share of GDP, they now spend four times what we do on research. As a result, their students now rank 4th in the world for science, according to PISA 2018. They are now among the world’s best farmers,” Salceda told President Duterte’s economic managers.

“Their scientists are now leading the world in producing a vaccine for ASF. Soon, they will be manufacturing COVID-19 vaccines. This was a war-torn country that began much poorer and hungrier than us. This is the transformative power of scientific development,” Salceda said.

The Committee on Science and Technology is now finalizing the substitute bill to the proposal.

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