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Science and Technology Secretary dela Pena: "It may be small but we're grateful" on 2021 Budget

DOST budget for 2021 pegged at P23.8 billion

MANILA – Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato T. dela Pena said while their budget over the years increased to P23.8 billion, it is 0.4 to 0.5 percent of the P4.3 trillion appropriations for 2021.

Speaking at the midday press briefing hosted by Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque, Secretary dela Pena said government expenditures in Research and Development is not just limited to the Department of Science and Technology because other departments also do their respective research and development studies. He said there are research and development activities made by the Department of Agriculture (DA), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources(DENR), Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Health (DOH), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Department of National Defense (DND).

“However, when you add up all the expenses incurred by these agencies with the country, Gross Domestic Product, it will be much smaller, at about 0.15% which is far from the international or universal average of at least 1%” he said.

He explained the budget for the past four years of the Duterte Administration has considerably grown from P20 to 21 to 22 billion.

“This year, it will be P23.8 billion. It may be small, but we are already thankful because of the improvement in appropriations for scholarships,” Secretary dela Pena, a government official who rose from the ranks.

Asked how the Philippines fares in comparison with ASEAN neighbors, he said it pains him to say be the country lies below Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

“We may be in the same ranking as Indonesia but what pains me is Vietnam, a late entry into ASEAN and yet they are now ahead of us,” he explained. Dr. Dela Pena has been regular staff member of the Department of Science and Technology for 32 years.

The Cabinet official sounded optimistic because the Philippines performed well in the Global Innovation Index apart from the traditional indicators set by the UNESCO. He explained the Global Innovation Index was found by the World Intellectual Property Office of ISNEAD of France and Cornell University of the United States.

Quoting from the GII, Secretary dela Pena said the Philippines placed first with three other economies which include China, Vietnam and India.

“The Philippines ranks number 4 in the class of lower and middle-income group of 29. And for the second consecutive year, the Philippines performs on innovation above expectations for each level of economic development,” he further said.

Secretary dela Pena said no matter how big the increase would be for Science and Technology, it will still be short because there will be more people interested in the DOST’s projects. (Melo M. Acuña)

Science and Technology Department Secretary Fortunato T. Dela Pena. ( File Photo/Melo M. Acuña)

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