Experts from the University of the Philippines (UP) joined other scientists based locally and abroad at the UP Diliman National Institute of Physics from October 24 to 25, 2018 to hold a series of discussions and consultations on how science, technology and innovation can improve the lives and industries of Filipinos today.
Led by members of the Philippine-American Academy of Science and Engineering (PAASE), the initiative was an opportunity for Filipino members of the scientific communities of the country and of the world to present position papers that contribute to the implementation of the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022 and the 25-year collective vision of Filipinos, AmBisyon Natin 2040. It served as a follow-up to the previously-held PAASE meeting at the University of Arizona, USA in April 2018.
In his keynote message, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and PAASE member Ernesto M. Pernia asked attendees to meditate on the question of how science, technology and innovation can be specifically used to accelerate the country’s socioeconomic development.
He added that AmBisyon Natin 2040 envisions a future where the Philippines is a “prosperous, predominantly middle-class society where nobody is poor. Filipinos enjoy long and healthy lives, are smart and innovative, and live in a high-class society in the midst of a global knowledge economy”.
It was undeniable, he said, that science, technology and innovation would be key drivers in the nation’s bid to achieve this goal.
Pernia thanked PAASE, which was represented in the opening ceremonies by its president, Dr. Joel Cuello, for bringing together experts to help fully implement the Philippine Development Plan. On the government’s part, he mentioned plans to expand the country’s expenditure on research and development from .15% to .5% of GDP, while supporting Department of Science and Technology-led initiatives like the strengthened Balk-Scientist Program.
All these together, Pernia said, would help to create a thriving science, technology and innovation system in the Philippines, with the help of the academe and industry. Such a synergy, Pernia claimed, would aid in the creation of new jobs, industries, and methods of service delivery that help the poor and disadvantaged.
Several UP experts joined these discussions to share success stories and assist in drafting position papers on the subject that will be submitted to the executive and legislative branches. They were led by former PAASE President and former UP Vice President for Academic Affairs Gisela Concepcion, Dr. Giovanni Tapang of the National Institute of Physics, and Dr. Edna Co of UP CIFAL Philippines. UP College of Science Dean Perry Ong delivered the opening remarks.
Two former UP presidents, Dr. Emil Javier and Dr. Alfredo E. Pascual, were also honored with the PAASE Distinguished Vanguard Awards, which are given to non-PAASE members for their exemplary service and contributions. (Andre DP Encarnacion, UP MPRO)