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, according to Senator Bam Aquino.
During the hearing of the Committee on Science and Technology, chaired by Aquino, on the Balik Scientist Bill, it was discovered that the Philippines has 189 scientists per million, far from the ideal target of 380 per million.
The country pales in comparison with other countries as South Korea and the United States have 5,300 and 3,500 scientists per million, respectively. Malaysia, for its part, has 2,000 scientists per million.
“Paano tayo makakasabay sa ibang bansa pagdating sa research at development kung kulang tayo ng 19,000 scientists,” said the legislator, author of Senate Bill No. 1183 or the Balik Scientist Bill.
According to Assistant Secretary Teodoro Gatchalian of the Department of Science and Technology, the agency has a budget of P25 million for the Balik Scientist Program. If the bill is approved, the budget will increase significantly, enabling the DOST to attract more Filipinos to return home and serve the country.
The lawmaker hopes that the measure will help address the lack of scientists, caused by the exodus of scientists and researchers to other countries to look for greener pastures.
“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 the youthful senator.
The Balik Scientist Bill seeks to provide overseas Filipino scientist with financial benefits and incentives to encourage to return to the Philippines and help boost the country’s research and development.
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 that will address development gaps in the Philippines.