MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) acknowledges the vital role of Filipino scientists in the country’s various sectors and economy.
Among them is Dr. Divina Amalin, an expert in terminating pests and one of those who discovered the predators of the pest Cocolisap that destroyed thousands of coconut trees in the country.
She worked in the Univesity of Florida and in the US agriculture department but decided to return to the Philippines in 2010 to practice in her home country and also for family reasons.
Amalin said that the government will definitely save funds thru the Balik Scientist program.
“Hindi na mag-spend ng more funding to generate technology ’cause Filipinoipino scientist abroad had already gained knowledge on technology that Philippines can adapt and can be modified,” said Amalin.
Engineer Leo Almazan, meanwhile, served as a US naval officer and was assigned to the naval warfare center in San Diego, USA.
“The uniqueness really is the expertise. We know and we already know what’s gonna go wrong so you don’t wanna duplicate or reinvent the wheel because we already know what’s gonna happen,” said Almazan.
DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña said, around 569 Filipinos responded to their Balik Scientist program. However, only 187 preferred to stay in the country.
He said that the Philippines’ ranking has now improved in terms of the numbers of scientists though it still needs to increase.
“If you talk of the global competitiveness index where there are about 137 countries enlisted, we are somewhere in the 56th rank,” said the secretary.
“In the global innovation index, the number 73 rank now is an improvement from the 90th rank in 2013,” he added.
Dela Peña added that foreign investors are not so interested to venure in the country’s science and technology services due to the scarcity of experts.
De La Peña said the budget department needs to create additional positions to accommodate more scientist.
“Kung scholarships bibigay sila. Kung pampatayo ng building bibigay sila. Pero yung pag-magcreate ka ng bagong positions for researchers and scientists napakahirap,” said De La Peña. — Rey Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue
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