Bongbong Marcos urges Pinoy scientists to remain in PH
MANILA, Philippines — President Marcos has asked Filipino scientists to stay in the Philippines and help shape the country’s future development, stressing that the country needs their expertise to reach new heights, and called on them to be an inspiration for the youth.
The President also promised Filipino scientists that his administration would strongly support their efforts, giving cash and other resources to assist them in succeeding.
At the opening ceremony for the 2022 National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) on Wednesday, he said Filipino scientists should continue to share their knowledge with young people, who may become the next generation of experts in the country.
“Lastly, I encourage our Filipino scientists, researchers, inventors, and innovators to continue sharing your expertise, especially [with] young people. Although, they are the ones who are sharing the technology with us,” the President said in his speech.
“I urge you to stay in the country as you pursue your career. We will continue to support you and continue to look to you to be active partners of the government,” he added.
The President has asked the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and its partner agencies to provide more scholarships to Filipino students so that they can choose science as their major. In addition, the expanding Philippine labor force means more opportunities for skilled Filipinos.
“Through this, we will institute a scholarship program, specifically for STEM students, and this will not be limited to those who have shown their capabilities, their ability, and how they deserve these scholarships here in the Philippines but to any institution that they are accepted to abroad,” he said.
“So this is important so that we continue to develop our workforce, we continue to develop our capabilities, and our knowledge,” he added.
Although the Philippines has long been a top source of scientific talent, the country has seen a fall in the number of scientists working locally in recent years as many of its talented scientists and specialists prefer to work elsewhere for better possibilities.
Local politicians and experts have expressed alarm about this trend, called “brain drain,” warning of the consequences to the government should it continue to lose its sharpest minds.
The Benigno Aquino III administration recommended raising local scientists’ pay in 2014 to keep them from quitting their employment and moving abroad. But unfortunately, the initiative failed to stop many of the country’s scientists from leaving for greener pastures overseas.
Last month, Senator Francis Tolentino urged the DOST to set up science fairs to enable state officials to recruit young scientists.
Marcos, along with Science and Technology Secretary Renato Solidum Jr. graced the opening of the NSTW at the World Trade Center in Pasay City. At the start of his speech, he marveled at the research outputs, saying Filipinos can indeed be world-class if the government supports them.
Marcos has shown interest in the sciences before. In his keynote speech at the 8th Annual Balik Scientist Convention, the President admitted that he wanted to pursue a career in the sciences but his late father, former president Ferdinand Marcos Sr. dissuaded him.