Press Release
December 19, 2007


"Filipino scientists are afraid that their patent will be stolen even before they get it," said Senator Edgardo J. Angara describing the status of intellectual property rights in the country during a Senate interpellation yesterday.

The Senator raised this concern after a privilege speech on government support to science and technology by Senator Aquilino Pimentel.

"There is something erroneous in our Intellectual Property Office," he said explaining why most Filipinos would opt to have their discoveries patented by the World Intellectual Property Office rather than our IPO.

He added that application for patent in the Philippines is one of the lowest in the region and this according to the Senator explains why Philippines have a low technological capacity.

He cited Erythromycin, a common antibiotic from Philippine soil bacteria that was commercialized by a global-research-based pharmaceutical company listed in the New York Stock Exchange.

He also mentioned a study on prialt ziconotide, a pain killer 1,000 times more powerful than morphine and is non-addictive by 2 briliant chemist, Dr. Baldomero Olivera and Dr. Lourdes Cruz. This was patented by Neurex in the US and developed by Elan Pharma PLC.

On the brighter side, the Senator said that the 2008 budget have increased the research and development (R&D) allocation for the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Agriculture (DA), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), meritorious State Universities and Colleges (SUC) and the University of the Philippines.

"The increase is not as substantial as we wish it to be but for the first time, R&D is given tangible support," he pointed out.

The Senator likewise emphasized the importance of the Congressional Commission on Science, Technology and Engineering (COMSTE). "We hope that our work in this Commission will really give a boost to science, technology and innovation in the country," he added.

COMSTE, authored by Senator Angara and created by the Congress, will look into the country's science, engineering and technology development. The Commission will undertake a thorough review of science education in public and private schools.

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