AGHAM-Advocates of Science and Technology for the People challenges the President to support the science and technology in the country if he has identified himself as a frustrated scientist. The President’s statement came about when he delivered his speech during the Balik Scientist Program Convention held last October 14, 2022. He vowed to support Filipino scientists in improving our research and development in the country. And this is critical as climate change is one of the important things that need to be addressed using science-based action. He even said that we have to look to our scientists, we look to science to provide us the answers for mitigation and adaptations that we have to undergo if we are going to flourish and do better in the future.
The Balik Scientist Program that the President mentioned in the convention aims to encourage our Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) workers abroad to take part in the promotion of scientific, agro-industrial, and economic development, including the development of our human capital in science, technology and innovation.
Jona Yang, the Secretary General of AGHAM says, “while we appreciate that there are patriotic scientists who already have established careers abroad but are still willing to share their expertise in the country, the present government should acknowledge that we are suffering from brain drain due to the absence of a national program for the development the country’s science and technology that could provide opportunities locally for our experts.”
The president also mentioned there is a need for answers in regards to adaptation and mitigation of climate change. However, scientists in the country have been voicing out solutions and programs that will benefit the country. The answers are already here and we are being left out, and killed for defending the environment, such are the cases of ethnobotanist Leonard Co and environmentalist Dr. Gerry Ortega. The past administrations neglect the importance and protection of the environmental defenders. We have been the most dangerous country for environmental defenders in Asia for 9 consecutive years based on Global Witness. The projects that were approved disregards the worsening impacts of climate change such as the 187 reclamation all over the Philippines, Mining and the threat of reviving the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.
It is an irony that the President identified himself as a “frustrated scientist” when in reality his policies are not geared towards the development of our science and technology. He has failed to recognize the historical neglect on our S&T with the “low public investment in science and mathematics education, lack of academic and industry institutional collaboration in research and development, and a growth pattern based largely on trade in services” has resulted to deindustrialization. Our budgetary allocation for research and development in the country has not even reached the UNESCO standard of 1% of the total GDP.
“If the President really cares and understands the situation of the needs of our scientists, there should be serious consideration in building our own scientific capacity for our own economic development. In this way, Filipino scientists no longer need to go abroad, rather their skills and expertise would be put to great use for the country’s needs, ends Yang.#
 The Balik Scientist Program, https://bspms.dost.gov.ph/
 #PILIpiLUNAS2022 Governance Agenda: Pag-angat at Pagsulong Tungo sa Magandang Buhay at Bukas, Office of the Chancellor, Office of the Chancellor, University of the Philippines Diliman Task Force on a Blueprint for Building the Nation, April 29, 2022