VP Leni eyes STEM research, education to boost PH economy
Presidential aspirant Vice President Leni Robredo announced her intention to use research and education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to help address the country’s major issues in key sectors.
Robredo bared her plan in the online Engineers for Leni Town Hall Meeting held on Tuesday, January 11, and was attended by over 200 participants in Zoom and another 300 in its Facebook Live broadcast.
The Vice President modeled her plan on more progressive members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which focus on higher research and development (R&D) funding and integration of STEM into the curriculum of schools.
“Right now, kasi 'yung budget natin [for R&D] ay .1% lang… pero kung tingnan natin 'yung ASEAN average between .3 to .5%. So 'yun 'yung gusto natin na habulin na ‘yung minimum na maging R&D budget natin, at .3%,” Robredo said in her message to the engineers.
“‘Yung pangalawa doon, ‘yung sa education, to implement a more integrated STEM curriculum. Again, modeled from progressive ASEAN countries from the high school to the tertiary level which is oriented to focused industries,” she added.
These are agriculture, medicine, community resilience, environment, and energy. These industries would be enriched by the creation of regional excellence centers which would improve the skill and competency of the workforce in their respective areas.
The Vice President also expressed support for the passage of the Open Access to Data Act, which will strengthen the powers of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) “to prevent monopolies and mandate interconnection of data transmission amongst industry players.”
She also said the National ID system would have been helpful during the pandemic but because of its slow operationalization, agencies are unable to use its centralized database system.
The topics covered by Robredo at the meeting included the need to build back better through more resilient communities, especially as many areas affected by Typhoon Odette continue to suffer from the lack of basic necessities such as electricity and water; removing personnel salary caps for health workers at a time of pandemic; and planning the road map of the energy sector to meet its target of being carbon neutral by 2050. [End]