Press Release
February 26, 2012


Senator Edgardo J. Angara called on select government agencies and SUCs to move swiftly in rolling out their R&D consortium programs.

Angara, Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science & Technology and Engineering (COMSTE), made the call as he opened the presentation of the innovation cluster master plans from the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD), the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD), and the Information and Communications Technology Office (DOST-ICTO).

"In the language of the budget people, we've got to obligate the funding that we allocated for the different innovation clusters," said Angara. "We want to show to our own people that we can initiate a new way of doing things so that the Philippines can actually start innovating in terms of S&T."

COMSTE has been pushing for the establishment of public-private partnerships (PPPs) in R&D. Dubbed as "innovation clusters," these consortiums among government, the academe and industry are tasked with finding technology solutions to national issues such as food security, job creation and disaster risk reduction.

In attendance were representatives from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the Department of Agriculture (DA), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and certain SUCs.

Speaking to the attendees, budget and management undersecretary Richard Moya explained, "Last December, because the budget was filed very early, there was an effort to disaggregate [the] items [in the budget] so that in the first two weeks of January, almost 90 percent of our SAROs [Special Allotment Release Order] would be released. The purpose of which was to enable the budgetary users to actually start preparing for it and utilizing it by the end of the year. The request is for you to take the challenge and actually properly utilize that fund."

Around P300 million has been allocated in the 2012 budgets of the DOST, the DA, and CHED, for the establishment of innovation clusters in the following areas--Algae Research and Commercialization; ICT for Cloud Computing and Software as a Service (SaaS); Responsible Mining Technologies; Disaster Science and Management; and Precision Farming and Smart Agriculture.

"I think the choice of these five clusters is not whimsical. It's really deliberate because the clusters shall affect food security and livelihood. That's why it's important that we achieve some initial success," said Angara, who is also Chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology.

The veteran lawmaker added, "I'm happy that at least we are moving in the right direction, although not necessarily in the right pace. We should act double-time in putting these plans down on the ground. Time is of the essence, especially nowadays where technology gets obsolete faster than ever before."

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