Press Release
August 13, 2009


As global economy's tendency to slow down Senator Edgardo J. Angara ties initiatives to develop new strategies for Research and Advanced Engineering in the country and propel emergence of game changing innovations and technologies as the moneymakers of the future.

"We are investing in research through our Engineering Research and Development for Technology (ERDT) program, focusing on academic research and development to creating new spin-off opportunities," said Angara who chairs the Senate Committee on Science and Technology.

Technology development starts in basic R&D conducted in central research laboratories, then applied in the triad economies' production facilities. Very little contribution - if at all- comes from engineers of emerging economies which usually serve as suppliers of low-end, low-tech goods.

This however, has been challenged by Newly Industrializing Economies (NIEs) such as India, China, Brazil, Taiwan and Korea. These countries started out as assemblers and suppliers of low-end, low-tech goods, but eventually shifted to cutting-edge products by adopting and customizing the know-how they have acquired through their dealings and investing in their own research.

As Robert Reich puts it, we are now in an era of super capitalism, where competition, especially for talent, is at its height. The unlocking of organizational set up is just the beginning - technology has opened up the competition to players other than the triad, and a knowledgeable workforce is the number one leveler.

"Amidst this changing order, we need a globally-competitive army of engineers -both to attract investment and spur local innovation. As early as the 1990s, the World Trade Organization (WTO) - through its General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) -- has recognized the trend of globalizing services, including engineering, and has incorporated a clause providing for a non-discriminatory and transparent means to accredit engineers in order to make their services available in other countries.," Angara added.

While there is still no international licensing and registration procedures for engineers, several countries have established the Washington Accord to recognize the validity of engineering degrees obtained from other countries so that engineers may practice in them. Signed in 1989, the Washington Accord facilitates the mutual recognition of degrees in member countries; establishing global standards that each member should meet. The Accord has been signed by the USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, South Africa, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea and Taiwan. Malaysia recently became a full signatory after six years of provisional status, while India, Sri Lanka, Russia, and Germany are currently provisional members.

The Congressional Commission on Science, Technology and Engineering (COMSTE), which Angara chairs, supports initiatives to make the Philippines a member of the Washington Accord.

"Our engineers must not only be good, they must be internationally known and this we can achieve if we upgrade our engineering programs to be at par with global standards. More importantly, it means producing graduates who meet these standards to man our firms and make them globally competitive," ended Angara.

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