Saturday, July 30, 2011

Walang natira

Brain drain continues under Noynoy Aquino administration; No industrialization plan to provide jobs for S&T workers

Press Statement
July 24, 2011

On the eve of his second State of the Nation Address (SONA), progressive scientists led by AGHAM reminded President Benigno Aquino III that the massive brain drain phenomenon continues under his administration.

Even under the new administration, many science and technology (S&T) professionals still find it hard to secure employment suitable to their skills and expertise. The Department of Science and technology (DOST) was able to produce around 1,437 scholar graduates at the end of the 2009-2010 school year, but we have yet to hear of any remarkable development stating where they have all ended up. It's highly unlikely that many of them have been able to secure jobs in the scientific research arena given that the industry is very small and almost non-existent in the Philippines. For the last decade, the number of emigrating science workers has ballooned to around two and a half times compared to the figure 11 years ago.

There remains widespread discontent and frustration in the local science and research community over the dismal state of our country's science research and development. A year after he assumed the Presidency, Aquino has no plan to develop the economy and establish national industries. His economic platform remains much like that of his predecessors: export-oriented, and heavily reliant on imports.

The Philippines remains an exporter of cheap raw materials but imports expensive finished products. The effect of such economic policy is the slow if at all existent development of domestic industries. We can cite the absence of domestic production of even the simplest everyday goods. In the meantime, the government continues to adhere to a program of mass export of our highly talented human resources which should be tapped instead for domestic needs.

Last July, the DOST announced that it wants to make internet and communications technology as an enabling tool to help expand and sustain the burgeoning business process outsourcing industry. DOST Secretary Mario G. Montejo has said that the DOST has the mandate and the knowledge resources to raise the number of business process
outsourcing (BPO) workforce "in a significant way."

This emphasis of the government’s S&T agency on the BPO industry has only shown the current mindset of the government with regard to science and technology. Instead of strengthening local production of tools and machineries for agriculture and other equally important aspects of the economy, the Aquino government merely continues the
tradition of previous administrations by toeing the line of foreign big business and international lending institutions: do away with ambitions of building strong domestic industries and just serve foreign monopolies with cheap English-speaking workforce.

The science and technology community in the Philippines calls on President Aquino to implement comprehensive reforms involving national industrialization. It should prioritize a genuine and thorough-going agrarian reform program to ensure food security and self-sufficiency. By distributing and developing the country's agricultural lands for domestic food production, the foundations of national industrial development can be more firmly built. Furthermore, it should provide the necessary support and infrastructure to harness the capacity of world class local scientists to address local problems and contribute to domestic industrialization.

We call on all well-meaning scientists, engineers, and other S&T professionals to join in AGHAM's advocacies, including putting pressure on the current administration to put in place an industrial environment where we can practice our technical knowledge and skills
to help propel our country away from pre-industrial and agrarian state that it is in.
Giovanni Tapang, PhD - National Chairperson, AGHAM
Contact details:
0927 5736714


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