Press Release
November 24, 2010


Senator Edgardo J. Angara, Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science and Technology and Engineering (COMSTE), identified the priority projects of the commission for 2011 which include Telemedicine, Remote-Sensing for Agriculture, Electronic Vehicles and Green Transport and Disaster Science.

At a speech in the senate, Angara said that, "the Philippines was one of a handful of countries that kept relatively strong economic growth throughout the global recession. But as the world's fastest growing economies have shown, it is not merely enough to stay afloat. It is more pressing now than ever to ensure that the country has the capability to create knowledge and harness innovation."

"This is why I call for firm and consistent funding for education, in particular science and technology, as well as research and development. It's almost commonplace to say that science and technology is crucial to our national life and development. Yet that is absolutely true. Our country cannot hope to catch up with our highly competitive neighbors and galloping population unless we leapfrog development through science and technology," added Angara

"The number of scientists and engineers involved in R&D in our country is only 152 per 1 million people, which is less than half of the ratio recommended by the United Nations to attain sustainable development."

"We will also inject R&D funding into selected state colleges and universities (SUC's) across the country so knowledge and innovation can be harnessed as optimally as possible," Angara said.

Recognizing the significance of information and communications technology (ICT), COMSTE renewed its commitment to further revolutionize the delivery of basic health services to remote areas throughout the country through telemedicine which allows physicians to perform remote diagnosis of patients from far-flung areas underserved by traditional medical care.

He added that aside from improving basic health care services and delivery to remote areas, telemedicine will create the foundation for digital medical records. By collecting data from patients all over the country, transitioning to a digital medical record system will become easier.

Meanwhile, in his effort to improve the country's agriculture system, Angara is pushing for the implementation of Remote-Sensing for Agriculture Project, which utilizes ICT to provide farmers with the latest market data on agriculture.

"Competitive agriculture means efficiently growing high value crops, using remote sensing to anticipate heavy rains or drought, understanding the effects of climate change and pollution on productivity, and having an integrated view of the logistics of produce delivery to the market," he added.

Another priority project of COMSTE is the Electronic Vehicles and Green Transport which will hugely benefit tourism, renewable energy, and electronics industries. "Electric vehicles are viewed as the vehicles technology of the future. Being one of the first to actually adopt the technology, this industry could open up a big export market for the country. Green transport solutions also take advantage of using waste-to-energy technologies to fuel e-vehicles," he said.

The Disaster Science Project, on the other hand, aims to upgrade the current capabilities of government to forecast weather, send out reliable warnings, and to ultimately prepare the country and the populace upon the onset of disastrous events, and to and rehabilitate on the aftermath of such events.

"Typhoons that have devastated the country and the livelihood of our people have made it imperative for us to fund the modernization of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA). The country needs to be equipped with the best forecasting capabilities to be able to adequately prepare and mitigate natural disasters. We will establish the Philippine Disaster Science Center to help safeguard national security and eventually become a regional hub for disaster science."

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