Lacson wants bigger budget for disaster preparedness research, development
MANILA, Philippines – Amid the continuing unrest of Taal Volcano and the recent destructive earthquakes in Mindanao, Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Sunday called on the government to invest more on research and development for disaster preparedness.
“To enhance its disaster preparedness and risk management capabilities, the government should take a cue from big, successful companies: invest big on research and development,” said Lacson in a statement.
He added that a multinational technology company reinvests as much as 15% of its gross earnings to research and development to keep up with new developments in technology.
The senator also emphasized science and technology’s great impact on efforts to deal with disasters — from tracking cyclones and mapping high-risk areas to developing better ready-to-eat meals as well as methods to ensure the health and hygiene of evacuees.
“Science entails research. Science can greatly help especially during disasters. Yet, why do we appropriate only 0.4 percent on the average for research and development?” said Lacson, who chaired a Senate hearing on disaster management last Wednesday.
According to him, in the P4.1-trillion 2020 national budget, the government initially proposed a mere P16 billion for research and development – or just 0.39% of the entire budget. He added that from 2016 to 2019, it only accounted for between 0.34% and 0.46% of the entire national budget.
“Even if we bump up the percentage to 1 or 2 percent of the national budget, I’m sure this will mean a lot to agencies such as the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology and Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration,” said the senator, who proposed budget hikes in the 2020 budget on research and development for the Department of Science and Technology.
“I believe the government can do much more if we enhance research and development,” Lacson added.
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