Speech by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. at the 2022 National Science and Technology Week (NSTW)

Speeches 23 November 2022

Thank you very much, Secretary Solidum, for your kind introduction.

Our Pasay City Mayor, Mayor Imelda Calixto-Rubiano; members of the Diplomatic Corps; my fellow workers in government; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen, good morning.

Going through all of these exhibits before we came up — and I apologize if we kept you waiting but they are very, very interesting. I could spend all day [applause] discussing all of these — all of these great innovations. And the one thing — we come — ang galing talaga ng Pinoy. [applause]

Basta’t maganda ang suporta sa ating mga scientists, sa ating mga researchers, sa ating mga teacher, walang — world-class talaga ang Pilipino.

Kaya’t we should not allow this opportunity to pass us by. That’s why as I greet you, I am excited to know that the future is bright for the Filipinos.

Maliwanag na maliwanag dito sa panahong ito, as we come out of the post-pandemic and face the new economy — it is a new economy. It is not the same world that we left in the late — last quarter of 2019.

And when let us say the pandemic is managed — well managed, let us say the crisis in Ukraine may have diminished somewhat, we are still — we are facing a new world. Very much a new world. COVID changed everything.

And because it is a new world, we must face — these are new problems that we are facing. And therefore, we need to find new solutions. And innovation is the key. Innovation and agility. Iyon ang mga buzzword ngayon eh. Innovation and agility in being able to adjust properly with new ideas, with new systems, with new science.

That is going to be the lifeblood of your survival in the coming years. And so that is why this — this celebration that we are doing of Science and Technology Week has taken on an added meaning because the innovations that will come that we will need will — a large part of that will be from pure science and technology.

There are also the social sciences which we still need, we also have to look at. But nonetheless, hard sciences will play a large, large part when it comes to the new solutions that we are looking for in this new world that we are going to have to live in.

We underscore the important role of our scientists, our researchers, and engineers who diligently conduct studies, generate new knowledge, and devise better strategies to safeguard and advance [the] well-being of Filipinos.

I cannot proceed without tipping my hat to my father, President Marcos, who through Proclamation No. 2214, institutionalized the National Science and Technology Week. [applause]

And through the decades, this celebration has continued — has continued to create a platform for professionals, for administrators, for policy makers, and for students to converge and collaborate in order to harness the power of science and technology — solving many of society’s problems, finding opportunities for growth and for development.

So I congratulate the DOST for holding once again and giving it the proper highlight and focus in this annual celebration of NSTW and organizing exhibits and activities that aim to educate, encourage, and enhance the skills of our scientists, inventors, and advocates.

The reaction that I have is that as usual when we see all of these very clever technologies being displayed, always we come up to the problem of scaling. And as long as that problem is overcome, then I think that it is absolutely necessary that you invite all the LGUs or a representative thereof to come and see some of the available technologies because many of these are immediately applicable to the local government — the local communities around the country. And this will provide new opportunities.

Again, they are innovative. Hindi pa nagagawa ito. Ngayon lang natin gagawin ito. Pero hindi na lang — ang pangkaraniwan na mamamayan ay hindi naman scientist at hindi nagbabasa ng mga journal ay hindi nila alam na available ito.

So we have… That is another very important part of the mission that you are having to fulfill is to get the information disseminated so that people know what might be applicable or useful in their own community situations.

So I hope this year’s celebration will be a beacon of hope for all Filipinos to bounce back better by building upon science, technology, and innovation.

Science and technology play a crucial role in securing a better future for our country. It allows us to employ our knowledge and develop practical solutions to modern-day problems. Technology, in particular, helps us meet everyday needs easier and faster.

So the part that education plays is extremely important. We — unfortunately in the Philippines, when we are graded alongside our neighbors in Asia, in ASEAN, do not do very well when it comes to the STEM subjects. And so that is what we need to encourage.

The material I can see is available. It is just a question of us incorporating it into our curriculum, our curricula. It is just up to us to give it an emphasis. Because in every aspect, those STEM subjects have become terribly, terribly important.

Whereas one of the elements when we were discussing how the — what directions the economy should go, and we would say we have to retrain our people. We have to teach them the new skills that are necessary for them to be working, helping our government, helping the corporations that they might be working for, helping their own family businesses. These are all absolutely necessary.

But whereas before, we trained people to be carpenters, and plumbers, and electricians, and construction workers. Now, the training is in computer science, it is encoding, it is blockchain technology, it is computer engineering.

All of these things are now the new world that we are facing. And that is why I keep stressing how important science and technology, and innovation. The innovation that science and technology allows — how important it will be for our success in the coming years.

So with that, I express my gratitude to the DOST for your continuous pursuit of scientific technological advancement [and] developing meaningful partnerships amongst the academe, and government agencies, research institutions, and local industries.

We acknowledge, of course, the DOST’s attached agencies their efforts, the regional offices for continuously implementing programs that create solutions to address the country’s pressing problems on food security, job creation, health, education, and climate change adaptation, amongst others.

This is the overarching subject now upon — which touches on every aspect of our life. As an administrator, every time we speak of any subject — you can talk about agriculture, you can talk about public works, you can talk about tourism, any subject — sumisilip ‘yung subject ng climate change.

It affects everything and everyone. And so once again, we look to science, we look to new technologies, we look to engineers to find us the solutions to mitigate, to adapt our very vulnerable country to the effects of climate change.

One of the notable risks — notable examples that I have seen is the GeoRiskPH Integrated System, the country’s platform for data gathering, sharing, and analyzing [hazards] and risk information. This will be used for efficient hazard and risk assessment, climate and disaster resilient planning, [and] land use and development planning.

I think no one will argue that these capabilities are absolutely necessary for the Philippine condition.

Another two are the CRADLE and SETUP programs, which are designed to help companies as well as MSMEs to improve their products, their processes, and services to boost their productivity and competitiveness through various science, technology, and innovation interventions.

One of those is the partnership between the DOST and the DTI, the Trade and Industry, to create an environment that is conducive to startups because doon talaga – doon lalabas, that is where we will begin to see the new innovations that will come up. The startups will be the ones to introduce that into the system.

And the other digitalization effort that we are doing for the MSMEs is creating a market, a digital market for the MSMEs to connect them, not only to local suppliers and local consumers, but also to international systems and hopefully this will increase their capabilities and increase their economic activities.

So your efforts do not only generate development opportunities for young scientists. They contribute to our shared goal of enhancing the quality of Filipino life.

With the new leadership in DOST, I am confident we will further advance the progress we have made in science and technology, and gradually establish the Philippines as a center for excellence in R&D.

You can rest assured this administration wholeheartedly supports these initiatives pushing for science and technology, [and] research and development-based solutions to our country’s problems, especially [applause] in the immediate future in agriculture, but after that, in trade.

I also urge the DOST and all other concerned agencies to allocate resources to institutions that carry out research and development and integrate these in government programs.

What Dr. Solidum and I have discovered is that there are many research institutions who are doing really remarkably good research. However, problem that we are finding is that that research is not directed. Everyone has their own program, has their own projects.

It’s not their fault. They’re studying what they’re interested in. We in government have to give direction so that the output of our R&D is immediately useful to our farmers, to our businessmen, to our MSMEs, to our citizens. And that I think is a quick, that’s something…

I’ve spoken to some of the researchers and some of the – those that are administering the research institutes around the country, not only agriculture but all kinds of other R&D.

And they’re willing to take direction from us, from the private sector as to what are the necessary technologies for the Philippines in terms of improving – well again, climate change mitigation, adaptation, and our food supply, our economic transformation, all of these things.

And once again, science and technology I am very confident is going to provide so many of the solutions which should not be a surprise as we live in a very technocentric society and economy.

Accordingly, the administration assures you of our firm commitment in championing science and technology researches, developing data-driven and science-based policies, implementing evidence-based responses, [and] supporting your community.

I challenge DOST and their partner-institutions to continue to provide more scholarships to Filipino students to develop a bigger pool of scientists, researchers, [and] innovators in the country. [applause]

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. So this is important so that we continue to develop our workforce, we continue to develop our capabilities, and our knowledge.

Lastly, I encourage our Filipino scientists, researchers, inventors, and innovators to continue sharing your expertise, especially to young people. Although, they are the ones who are sharing the technology with us.

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.

Let us dedicate our knowledge and skills, [and] work harmoniously so as to uplift the lives of our countrymen as we take further strides towards a more informed, a more inclusive, more prosperous, [and] more sustainable nation.

Maraming salamat po at mabuhay po kayong lahat! Maganda pong umaga. [applause]

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SOURCE: OPS-PND (Presidential News Desk)