Press Release
March 26, 2012


Fast-paced technological innovation and development are making this time in history both exciting and challenging, Senator Edgardo J. Angara emphasized in his keynote speech at the 107th commencement exercise of the Technological University of the Philippines (TUP).

"Technological progress is now the main engine of growth and development. No one individual--or nation for that matter--will survive in this era if they do not innovate or exercise their creativity," said the Chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology to the TUP graduates of 2011-2012.

First established in 1901 as the Manila Trade School (MTS), TUP is considered to be the premier state university for technological education in the Philippines.

"This generation of young Filipinos is coming into what economists are calling the 'demographic window,'" said Angara, referring to the period from 2015 to 2050 during which the Philippines will have immense potential for economic growth due to a proportionally large working-age population and light dependency burdens, according to projections from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

"This points to an immeasurable and extremely valuable national treasure--our youth that many describe as the perpetually renewable source of energy, creativity, and innovation."

The veteran lawmaker noted that the Philippines however has been lagging in many global rankings for competitiveness such as the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Index and the INSEAD Business School's Global Innovation Index.

"We usually rank in the bottom-third, whether it is for innovation, competitiveness, education, infrastructure, 'doing business,' or tourism," added Angara, who is also Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science & Technology and Engineering (COMSTE).

The former UP President then stressed around 16,000 S&T professionals--mostly engineers, doctors, nurses and midwives--migrated out of the country, every year in the past 12 years.

"But we should not despair. We should not lose hope," emphasized Angara. "Our adaptation of cutting-edge technology will be important in generating innovative products and services. And here, youthful energies will definitely come into play."

He concluded, "As we enter into this so-called demographic window, we will be like India, where 54 percent of their population is below 30 years old. The average age of the Filipino will be 26 years old--very young compared to other nations. This will be the key to our future progress and prosperity."

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