/ 14 December 2020

REP. Francis Gerald Aguinaldo Abaya sought the establishment of a scholarship center for research and development.

He filed House Bill 651 that will create the ASSET Scholarship Center to sustain and institutionalize initiatives in engineering, research and development technology.

Abaya stressed the need to have a huge reservoir of inexpensive but skilled workers to develop the economy.

“The country’s scorecard of its technological base is relatively poor. Because newly industrialized country status is synonymous with global competitiveness, Philippine science and technology must be measured against international standards,” he said in his explanatory note.

He added that the so-called economic superpowers including Japan, Singapore and South Korea have the highest number of research scientists and engineers followed by China, Thailand and Malaysia.

“Sadly, the Philippines trails behind by a formidable margin. The number of true RSEs in the country is very low at only 108 per million of Filipino population in 2002,” he said.

This shortage threatens to prevent the acceleration of economic growth, Abaya warned.

The bill seeks to institutionalize reforms in the procurement and fund disbursement systems in science, engineering and technology programs.

It also mandates the establishment of an ASSET Fund or a funding mechanism to augment the massive budgetary requirements needed to sustain and maintain the various programs of the ASSET Scholarship Center.