The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Legislative Committees of the American Chamber of Commerce co-hosted a breakfast forum together with the Makati Business Club (MBC), Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CanCham), Management Association of the Philippines (MAP), and Philippine Chamber of Commerce and the Industry (PCCI) of the Philippines had its monthly briefing at the Makati Shangri-La, Makati City.
The said meeting was led by MBC’s Executive Director and Chairman Mr. Peter Angelo Perfecto and Mr. Edgar Chua, respectively. The incoming President of PCCI – Ms. Alegria Limjoco – introduced the keynote speaker, Secretary Fortunato De la Pena of Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to present the DOST Programs and Projects entitled “Science for the People”.
Secretary de la Pena started his talk by providing a background on the DOST’s roots and beginnings. In 1958, the department was originally called the National Science Development Board, and was reconstituted as the National Science and Technology Authority in 1981. By virtue of Executive Order 128, s. 1987, the agency was elevated to full cabinet stature and came to be known as what we know today to be the Department of Science and Technology. According to the constitution, DOST was created to achieve technological self-reliance through the development of local capabilities in Science and Technology.
The DOST consists of 18 attached agencies, 16 regional offices, and 80 Provincial Science and Technology Centers. It has research and development institutions that render contract research service to industry, and has sectoral councils that address agriculture, health, and industry, energy and emerging technology. Part of its services units provide scholarships for high school (Philippine Science High School), college, and post-graduate programs; technology transfers and establishing Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) and The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAG-ASA).
Secretary de la Pena mentioned that President Duterte’s 0+10 Socio economic agenda emphasized science, technology, and innovation as its key drivers. The main function of DOST is to promote science, technology, and the creative arts to enhance innovation and creative capacity. Apart from the said role, DOST also implements programs and projects that increase competitiveness, promote rural and value chain development, and invest in human capital development.
The Philippine Development Plan lay down the foundation towards achieving the 25-year vision dubbed Ambisyon Natin 2040. Under this vision, DOST aims to accelerate technology adoption and stimulate innovation in the next six years by improving our S&T infrastructure, enhancing the Research & Development (R&D) capacities of our institutions, especially those in the regions, increasing technology transfer and strengthening our partnerships with industry and other stakeholders.
Aligned with Ambisyon Natin 2040, the Philippine Development Plan and the Government Appropriation Act, the DOST formulated the Harmonized Research and Development Agenda that was approved by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) last 30 August 2017, and presented to the President and the Cabinet last 4 September 2017. All government-funded R&D projects above P10M must align with the Harmonized National R&D Agenda. Said agenda include other areas of Health, Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology; Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change; and Basic Research. These are the R&D priorities for agriculture, aquatic, and natural resources. It can be noted that the 90-page Harmonized R&D plan can be downloaded from the DOST website.
Secretary de la Pena also presented the DOST strategic plan for 2017 – 2022 with seven  possible outcomes that has a common denominator, which is to see a more technologically advanced and resilient Philippines.
Secretary de la Pena also mentioned that the key areas for partnership with the private sector include the following:
- Sharing of facilities;
- Partners in R&D phase for discovery of herbal drug candidates/ drug leads;
- Early licensing/partnership for development of herbal drug candidates; and
- Licensing products after pre-clinical development
- Co-funding of clinical trials
- Licensing/co-funding of drug leads for preclinical development
Lastly, the Board Director of AmCham – Mr. Richard McGonegal, facilitated the open forum prior to the adjournment of meeting.