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PIA Press Release

Angara committee spearheads new S&T initiatives

Manila (7 January) -- With the Senate's ratification of the 2010 budget, major thrusts in the field of Science and Technology (S&T) can take off and bolster the country's bid to overcome the economic crisis and become a relevant player in the global arena.

Senator Edgardo J. Angara, Co-chair of the Congressional Commission on Science, Technology, and Engineering (COMSTE) said that priority projects identified by industry, academe and government experts now have the funding to spearhead the country's efforts to build a strong foundation of S&T.

"Absent of an improvement in the way we innovate as a country, the competitive position of the Philippines in Research & Development can worsen with the recent slowdown in the world economy." said Angara.

He added, "COMSTE's initiatives provide an opportunity to integrate a new strategic S&T agenda into the nation's competitiveness plan. Projects like the Renewable Energy R&D Institute (RERDI), the Industrial R&D Institute (IRDI), and National Telehealth Center program have been allocated the funds and are primed to steer the nation in a new direction."

News of the $200 Million ADB fund for energy also prompted Angara to note that, "the Philippines has the potential to eventually become energy independent. Properly funded, our utilization of resources coupled with the innovation spurred by our own RERDI, will help galvanize the Renewable Energy market into a thriving industry."

IRDI, which is modeled after Taiwan's prominent Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), is the newest venture in R&D. Angara pointed out that, "IRDI will stimulate advances by developing public-private partnerships. The advantage here is that small and medium enterprises will have access to the tools and equipment that they need to launch their start-up companies, which would otherwise be too cost-prohibitive." ITRI of Taiwan has expressed their willingness to help with training and technology transfer.

The National Telehealth Project, "will eventually bring the best healthcare to the most remote barangays that would normally have to wait for extended periods just to get a proper diagnosis," said Angara. In conjunction with the UP Manila-National Telehealth Center (UPM-NTC), the project is forming models that will deploy ten centers around the country.

Created through a joint resolution of the Senate and House of Representatives authored by Angara, COMSTE is harnessing efforts of both private and public institutions to make science and technology a national priority, and provide the master plan to promote research and development, and develop the growth of science and technology. (COMSTE) [top]

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