Some senators want higher R&D budget for DOST amid pandemic— Villanueva

Angela Coloma, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 29 2020 04:39 PM

MAYNILA— Some senators support calls to increase the Department of Science and Technology’s budget for research and development, Sen. Joel Villanueva said Tuesday, as the agency cited a slash in its proposed funding for 2021. 

In a Senate hearing on DOST's proposed budget next year, Sen. Joel Villanueva highlighted the need to allot funds for research and development amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. 

"Muli nating ipinagdidiinan ‘yung halaga ng innovation sa gitna ng panahon ng pandemya. Suportado natin ang adhikaing paglaanan pa ng pondo ang karagdagang research and development para sa samu’t saring programa ng DOST,” Sen. Joel Villanueva said in a Senate hearing Tuesday morning. 

(We again stress the importance of innovation in the middle of the pandemic. We support the advocacy of alloting funds in research and development programs of DOST.) 

The proposed budget for DOST's research and development institutes for next year is at P2.41 billion, P76.24 million lower than the P2.48 billion allocation this year, Science Secretary Fortunato Dela Peña said in the hearing. 

Among the institutes getting cuts for next year are the Forest Products Research and Development Institute, Metals Industry and Development Institute, Philippine Nuclear Research Institute, and Philippine Textile Research Institute. 

When asked about the decrease, Dela Peña admitted that the budget they proposed was "not enough" to sustain research and development programs. 

"I enumerated that in the case of our grants-in-aid... R&D budget for grants-in-aid at P2.11 billion, and the other po is actually the regional programs - not all R&D but actually involving the upgrading of tech capabilities - at P1.22 billion," Dela Peña answered when Sen. Panfilo Lacson asked how much more budget is needed for the said programs.