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SAYS LAWMAKER Group to monitor S&T spending in gov’t

Posted on: February 25, 2009

http://technology.inquirer.net/infotech/infotech/view/20081215-178103/Group-to-monitor-ST-spending-in-govt

By Anna Valmero
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 12:45:00 12/15/2008

Filed Under: Innovation (invention), Science & Technology

MANILA, Philippines — A group will be established to oversee how each government science institution spends their budget, a lawmaker said Monday.

Speaking during 2008 National R&D conference, Senator Edgardo Angara said this is part of a three-pronged approach to achieve the country’s goal in developing the science and technology (S&T) and to prepare for the upcoming financial meltdown in 2009.

“This spells the difference from previous strategies as it is also the first time that they will require institutions to report their research expenses monthly to the monitoring body,” Congressional Commission on Science and Technology and Engineering (COMSTE) chairman Senator Edgardo Angara said.

In an interview with INQUIRER.net, Angara said COMSTE has talked with the Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Agriculture, Department of Transportation and Communication, Department of Energy and Department of Education about this budget monitoring program.

Meanwhile, Angara also stressed the need for more collaboration among institutions in government and private sector, which would drive national research and development strategy for science and technology (S&T) in the country.

Addressing policy makers and science executives during the conference, Angara said an infrastructure group composed of government institutions for S&T would be established. This group will work together for the national agenda for research and development.

The lawmaker said there are plans to allot budget to open 30 additional science laboratory classrooms in primary and secondary science schools next year. This is Angara also part of the need to focus on improving the national education and training.

Currently, there are about 100 science laboratory classrooms in the country.

He also noted the need to recruit and retrain mathematics and science teachers since about 50 percent do not specialize in these two fields of study.

“The focus on education is to ensure the constant supply of trainers for future scientists in the country,” he added.

During the conference, University of the Philippines president Emerlinda Roman said the Philippines cannot afford not to invest in research and development.

Science and Technology secretary Estrella Alabastro agreed, adding that investing in national science development and achieving synergy is appropriate at this critical time of the world economy.

“The time calls for research in strategic and important priorities that would create greater value and for collaborating, complementing and linking with one another to optimize resources,” she said.

Angara said they would also install a research institute similar to what Taiwan has to encourage collaboration between the government and private sectors and push the Philippines’ research and development initiatives in electronics manufacturing.

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and COMSTE hosted the 2008 National R&D conference.

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