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PIA Press Release
2009/02/11

Angara earmarks P100-M for new "ITRI-type" R&D institute

Manila (11 February) -- Against the backdrop of a weakened electronics and semiconductor sector, Sen. Edgardo J. Angara announced the allocation of P100-million in the 2009 National Budget for the establishment of an "Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) – type" Research and Development (R&D) Institute during the luncheon seminar on the Philippine Competitiveness in the Information Technology Outsourcing sector which Angara keynoted.

"During this particularly difficult period, we need every advantage that we can get. ICT is one way for us to have that advantage. The data and information, if we are able to utilize it properly, will allow us to make faster and better decisions, and react to crisis better, whether it be financial, or health related, or weather and crop forecasting. This, however, demands a better R&D backbone and I believe that we can address this by establishing and financing an Industrial Technology Research Institute–patterned institute," said Angara who chairs the Senate Committee on Finance.

He added, "We should address the weakest link in our innovation system, which is technology transfer, by creating a policy environment that can attract strong support from public and private sectors. In many developed countries, technology transfer and innovation policy are very much at the center of their policies on economic development."

Angara stressed that while we cannot do anything about the worldwide slump, we can do something about how competitive we will be when the recovery starts to happen. He said that eventually the world will recover, and how we move at this stage will determine where we will be in the next few years.

The Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) is Taiwan's crown jewel in R&D. Established in 1975, the ITRI is a semi-government, semi-private R&D institute, and derives revenue from government and private R&D contracts as well as from its intellectual properties.

It is also responsible for the spinoff of notable Taiwanese technology companies such as the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation (TSMC), the United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC) and a host of other technology companies. The ITRI was responsible for spearheading Taiwan's entry into first world status, because of its impact on Taiwan's electronics sector.

According to the 2006-2007 Global Competitiveness Report, the Philippines is ranked 71st out of 125 countries in terms of technological readiness or ability to adopt technologies from home or abroad to enhance the productivity of its industries. This is in contrast with the high rankings of our Asian neighbors like Singapore (2nd), Hong Kong (13th), Korea (18th), Japan (19th), Malaysia (28th) and Thailand (48th).

In the area of innovation or the ability to produce brand new technologies, the country ranks a dismal 79th. Compared to emerging innovation powerhouses in the ASEAN like Singapore (9th), Malaysia (21st), Indonesia (37th) and Thailand (33rd), the Philippines clearly has a lot of catching up to do in terms of innovation.

In order to address this, Angara spearheaded the establishment and funding of a similar Industrial Technology Research Institute in the country.

Last September 2008, Dr. Johnsee Lee, the President of the ITRI, visited the Philippines and gave a talk before the members of COMSTE. This February 10, a small delegation from COMSTE will visit Taiwan to sign a Memorandum of Understanding between the ITRI, COMSTE and SEIPI to let the ITRI assist us in the formation of our own ITRI-type R&D Institute. The UP Law Center is currently working with the COMSTE to draft the charter of this new Institute.

The COMSTE was chartered by Congress to look at laws and activities that will make the Philippines more competitive in S&T. (COMSTE) [top]

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