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PIA Press Release

Tech-backed program to boost RP bid for first world class status

Manila (8 July) -- The government has launched an ambitious technology-backed modernization program to boost the Philippines' bid to join the ranks of First World countries in 20 years, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said.

In her speech keynoting the 50th Anniversary of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) at the World Trade Center (WTC) in Pasay City yesterday morning, the President said part of this modernization program is anchored on the promotion of engineering research and development (R&D) activities in the country.

"To pursue our vision for the Philippines to join the First World in 20 years, we have proclaimed technology as the foundation of future economic development," she said.

The President has spearheaded the move for the advancement of science and technology (S&T), especially in schools, to play a key role in the country's development by developing innovations to spur progress and open new opportunities to improve the Filipinos' quality of life.

She added that the road map towards the country's attainment of First World status is defined in the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP) that features a "strategy to further S&T and mobilize our advances through a four-pronged approach: first, enhancing the competitiveness of our human capital; second, developing a critical mass of scientists and R & D personnel; third, speeding up knowledge creation and dissemination to push productivity; and fourth, improving the mechanisms and programs that promote technology-based entrepreneurship."

In promoting engineering R&D, the President said the government is investing P3 billion to entice students and professionals alike to pursue advanced studies in engineering and technology.

"Our government is investing a special P3-billion fund in research and development technology between 2007 and 2010, including the Science and Technology Complex at the University of the Philippines. This is to promote engineering R&D activities in the country at a significant scale in order to modernize every aspect of the economic underpinnings of the Philippines to propel economic growth," the President said.

"Modernization will need, indeed, as we said in our Medium Term plan, a critical mass of R&D-capable manpower to bring our country to the First World in 20 years. Since last year, a science and technology consortium of universities headed by U.P. has been offering scholarships under our R&D development program for masters and doctoral degrees in science and engineering," she added.

The President pointed out that under the general appropriations for 2008, the DOST received the heftiest budgetary increase among government agencies at 51 percent precisely to bolster its R&D programs on "food and agriculture, energy, public health, information and communication technology, and the environment, including disaster prevention."

"National knowhow shall advance the three priority E's of our county - economy, education, and environment," she said.

The President stressed, however, that even as "we pursue the vision of reaching First World in 20 years, we remain focused on solving everyday problems. We are focusing on fighting for the average Filipino. Therefore we are focused on putting food on the table." (PIA-MMIO) [top]

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