PGMA's support to science community recognized

June 25, 2010 9:45 pm 

MANILA, June 25 — The country’s science community recognized on Friday the steadfast support of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to the science and technology sector through a presentation dubbed “Alay Pasasalamat” at Malacanang’s Heroes’ Hall.

The event, organized by the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST), highlighted the accomplishments of the science community that stemmed from the support of the President during her nine-year term.

Among these was the signing into law on March 23, this year of Republic Act No. 10055, otherwise known as the Technology Transfer Act of 2009, which harmonizes all technology transfer activities in the country and expedites the commercialization of government-funded research.

The President’s efforts resulted in the accomplishment of five broad tiers of S&T programs that included research and development, human resource development, scientific and technological services, promotion and information services and scientific linkages and international cooperation.

It was also during the Arroyo administration that four new Philippine Science High School campuses were established to provide the environment for the youth to learn and hone their skills to become achievers.

The President’s S&T Undergraduate Scholarship Program was able to reach out to deserving students to pursue S&T baccalaureate degrees in selected higher education institutions in the country. Some 34,820 scholars have benefited under the program.

President Arroyo also provided extensive support for graduate S&T scholarship programs through the infusion of more funds. The Accelerated Science and Technology Human Resource Development Program and the Engineering Research and Development Technology Program resulted in a five-fold increase in the number of graduate scholarship opportunities. There are now 1,476 MS and 443 PhD scholars under said programs.

The Arroyo administration allocated the much-needed funds for the improvement of research facilities, and increased the funding for research and development activities for academic scientists and engineers.

National Academy of Science and Technology president Dr. Emil Javier led the science community in expressing their gratitude to the President’s support to S&T.

“In behalf of the science community of the Philippines, thank you for your recognition of the importance of S&T to our country’s progress and inconsiderable support to improve the Philippines capability, scientific research and development,” Javier said.

Dr. Lourdes Cruz, a National Scientist, pointed out that for the first time in over 30 years, the budget for research and development increased from 0.51 percent of GDP (gross domestic product) to 2.4 percent in 2007. She expressed hope this will start a “logarithmic growth” of the budget for economic development and cooperation.

For his part, Nestor Acala, a PhD Mathematics scholar at the University of the Philippines-Diliman, said that through the President’s various scholarships in S&T, poor but deserving students like him were able to realize their dreams as well as paved the way to a brighter future for them.

Glenn Riced Blanco, a Philippine Science High School scholar from Lanao del Norte, thanked the President for her Mindanao Opportunities for Vitalized Education (MOVE)- Upgrading Science Program that has helped him and other students from Mindanao get scholarships in science high schools.

Maria Lydia Lomibao of Camarines Sur said her pili business has been expanding to the markets of the United States, Japan, and Canada with the help of advanced technology she has adopted from the Department of Science and Technology. (PNA) scs/OPS/rsm

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