“Nanatiling atrasado at hindi makamasa ang estado ng science and technology sa bansa,” said Vera Goyena of the Rise for Education (R4E) Alliance.
[The state of science and technology (S&T) in the country is still backward and elitist.]
Goyena said the shortage in educational facilities, inaccessible lab tools, and highly commercialized and privatized education are few of the many factors why the delivery of science and technology education is poor.
Science for the people
Every November 10, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) commemorates World Science Day for Peace and Development. This year, UNESCO encouraged the advancement of public discussions for scientific developments that aid community and national sustainability.
But for R4E Alliance, the country’s research and development (R&D) for S&T instruction were undermined by the lack of government support.
The national budget for R&D was reduced at almost P77 million, from P2.488 billion in 2020 to P2.411 billion this year.
“Ang nangyayari yung pondo (para sa R&D) ay nailalaan sa mga maling landas, sa mga maling bulsa napupunta” said Jersey Blanco, a senior high school student and member of R4E.
[The fund that should have been for (R&D) is being mishandled, channeled to the wrong pocket.]
Meanwhile, the defense sector received a whooping P206.8 billion budget in 2021.
Under R&D, P283 million is only allotted for the establishment of the Virology and Science and Technology Institute in the Philippines in response to the pandemic.
The Impact of Inadequate S&T Advancement in the Society
“Walang programa na pang-agham para mapalawak at mapadali ang current practices sa agriculture at industralisasyon sa kanayunan mula sa gobyerno,” said Goyena.
[There is no scientific program to widen and to make current agriculture and industrialization practices efficient in the rural communities from the government.]
Blanco also lamented how the government prioritized importing products instead of supporting domestic agribusiness.
“Kawawa ang ating magsasaka dahil ang kanilang pinagpapaguran ay napupunta lang sa kapakinabangan ng mga bansang ito (dayuhan) , imbis na Pilipino ang mapakain, ibang bansa ang nakikinabang,” he said.
[Our farmers suffer because all their labors benefit only foreign countries instead of serving the Filipino.]
Farmers are forced to export their crops at a low price while also they cannot afford a decent meal.
According to the 2020 PSA report, a farmer’s average daily salary is P267.00 or P8,000.00 a month—insufficient for a typical Filipino family.
“Mayroong kakulangan sa local basic industries despite na maraming resources ang Pilipinas dahil sa kakulangan ng suporta [ng gobyerno] at ang namamahala sa [mga industries dito] ay mga dayuhan,” he added.
[There is a lack of local basic industries despite the Philippines’ many resources because there is barely enough support from the government and most of the industries here are owned by foreigners.]
What has to be done?
The R4E Alliance listed several recommendations to lift the country’s economic, and science and technology sector:
- Develop genuine agrarian reform and modernize agricultural production
- Develop national industrialization through heavy industries
- Strengthening and re-orienting of light industries to serve local needs using own materials from agriculture
- Acknowledge inventors, scientists, engineers, and R&D professionals.
- Commit to the people’s interest through Academic Freedom
- Push for pro-people development
- Unite with other progressive sectors
“I-advocate natin yung edukasyon na mapagpalaya, edukasyon na scientific at mass-oriented para hindi napag-iwanan ang development ng bansa natin” Goyena appealed.
[Let’s advocate education that is liberating, that is scientific and mass-oriented to push through the development of our country.]