Far from the ideal 380 scientists for every million population as suggested by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Philippines has only 189 scientists per million according to the data released during the hearing on the Balik Scientist Bill on Saturday as disclosed on a Rappler story.
The Philippines, therefore, needs 19,000 more scientists to be a significant force in the research and development of the country, according to Senator Paulo Benigno “Bam” Aquino, author of Balik Scientist Bill.
“Paano tayo makakasabay sa ibang bansa pagdating sa research at development kung kulang tayo ng 19,000 scientists,” said Aquino.
[How can we keep up with other countries when it comes to research and development if we lack 19,000 scientists?]
The Balik Scientist Bill is among the priorities of the Senate committee on science and technology to provide solution to the lack of scientists in the country caused by their emigration to other countries to look for better offers.
The bill provides Filipino scientists with financial benefits and incentives so as to encourage them to return and serve the Philippines.
“Sa tulong ng panukalang ito, mahihikayat natin ang mga Filipino scientist sa ibang bansa na bumalik sa Pilipinas at tumulong sa pagpapaunlad ng ating research and development,” Aquino.
[With the help of this measure, we can persuade the Filipino scientists abroad to return to the Philippines and assist in the development of our research and development,]
In comparison to other countries, as per a 2015 UNESCO Institute for Statistics report, Israel has the highest number of scientists among 157 countries with 8,300 per million. South Korea, tops Asia, with 6,900.
In southeast Asia, Singapore and Malaysia are the top two with 6,700 and 2,100 respectively.
Meanwhile, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has a budget of P25-million for the program this 2017 and will increase significantly if the bill will be passed into law according to Assistant Secretary Teodoro Gatchalian of DOST.