Commentary: R&D trust fund augurs well for S&T
Roxas City (10 June) -- The directive of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) on the establishment of a trust fund for research and development (R&D) programs will augur well for science and technology in the Philippines.
Although already built into the DOST system through the National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP), research and development needs more push and support. The trust fund is a welcome development for the S & T sector.
In her directive, President Arroyo urged the DOST to solicit public and private sector support for the establishment of the said trust fund.
DOST Secretary Estrella Alabastro said in a press conference held in Malacañang that the establishment of the trust fund is a way of recognizing the important role R&D practitioners play in national development and advancement.
She added that this trust fund would also provide "the same level of support as the President is giving to us right now" beyond 2010.
"A trust fund will be created to become the repository for both public and private sector funds so that this can be used to provide support for research and development," Alabastro said.
She added the President agreed to the establishment of the trust fund provided R&D expenditures are divided between participating government and private sectors at 36 percent for the government and 64 percent for the private.
"The President said that for the trust fund, we (government sector) can commit 30 percent of the fund but we expect the private sector to give 70 percent," Alabastro said.
Alabastro said total R&D expenditures as of 2005 have been estimated to reach P6-billion.
In the same press conference, Alabastro reported on the first meeting of the Presidential Coordinating Council for Research and Development (PCCRD), a body created under Executive Order No. 604 issued by the President in February 2007.
Alabastro said the President’s directives to the PCCRD sought to carry out with greater coordination among government agencies with R&D budgets its "investment plan for R&D with a monitoring and evaluation scheme to see if the plan is being implemented properly and whether or not R&D institutions are doing their jobs well."
Even in the academe, the country has not been in want of bright minds popping out notable researches or experiments, as proven by the track record of Filipino students in international science and engineering fairs such as the one sponsored by INTEL.
So far, two Capiz high school students from Capiz National High School have emerged as major winners in the annual competition. (OPS-PIA) [top]