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Salceda calls for new “tidemaker industries”

June 7th, 2021

Salceda calls for new “tidemaker industries” to hire graduates of free college tuition law; House tax solon says R&D investments, ‘Science for Change’ bill to create more jobs

House Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district) emphasized the need for “tidemaker industries” or industries that will spur new job creation and economic activity as he laid out a vision for how to employ scholars of the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education or UAQTE Law, which he also principally authored.

“Remember, because of UAQTE, we are now producing graduates at a growth rate of around 6.42% annually. In 2019, before the pandemic, employment growth was just around 5.7%. The year before that, it was 1.2%. Without a solid skills base to lure in the industries of the future, we will merely keep producing jobless graduates,” Salceda said, in remarks to the graduation ceremonies of the Southern Luzon Technological Colleges Foundation, Inc, a polytechnic school in Legazpi City.

“Today, the challenge for lawmakers like me is to create jobs for the graduates we have helped finish school, and to ensure that the college curriculum is suited to the new jobs of the new economy,” Salceda added

“The growth rate in the number of graduates has increased significantly, from an average of 5.2% every year for the ten years before UAQTE, an average of 6.42% after the law took effect. Students were also more likely to graduate. In the years before UAQTE, graduating students were an average of only 16.24% of all enrolled students. After UAQTE, they were now 23.45% of enrollees at all year levels,” Salceda explained.

New tidemaker industries needed, research to create new jobs

Salceda says that “there is no use in trying to revive some industries that have been rendered obsolete by new technologies or even by new trends accelerated by the pandemic.”

“It would be like feeding dead horses. We need new industries that respond to new trends and solve new problems. These are the industries that will create well-paid, secure employment to new graduates, because they create value. Reviving industries for their own sake can only take us so far,” Salceda said.

This is why, Salceda says, the national government has to commit to an aggressive program of investment in research and development.

“In 2017, we set an initial funding of P21 billion for Science for Change. We estimated that, if we were to double R&D spending every year, it would be a good starting point. 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. 2021 GAA funding for R&D is at around P18 billion, still below that starting point. But if we start now, the science for change formula can still help us meet the threshold by 2025. The Science for Change bill outlines how our R&D investments will be spent to improve every facet of the economy and society.”

Salceda cites financial technology, the BPO sector, electronics, among other knowledge-driven growth sectors are industries where research and development in the Philippines may lead to job creation.

“The wealth of nations is now knowledge driven. The solutions to our most life-threatening problems are knowledge driven. We must invest in R&D not only so that we may grow, but so that we may survive,” Salceda said.

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