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House of Representatives approves raising benefits of S&T personnel in government

The Philippine House of Representatives has approved the bicameral conference committee report reconciling the House and Senate bills that are both seeking to raise the benefits of science and technology (S&T) personnel in the government.

According to a recent press release, the reconciled measure seeks to amend Republic Act 8439 (RA 8439) or the “Magna Carta for Scientists, Engineers, Researchers and Other Science & Technology Personnel in the Government”.

This Act empowers the Filipino scientists with the end in view of expanding the country’s pool of S&T experts and motivating them to continue working for the country.

Amendments to the Law

The ratified bill states that the government shall not impose a limit on the amount of additional honoraria that may be received by S&T personnel from externally funded grants.

Moreover, the S&T personnel, who are not employed by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), but are involved in Science and Technology Activities may also avail of the benefits of the measure.

The can do so upon certification of the head of their agency that they are involved in research and development (R&D) or other scientific and technological activities.

As stated in RA 8439, scientific and technological activities are “all systemic activities, which are closely concerned with the generation, advancement, dissemination, and application of scientific and technical knowledge in all fields of natural science and technology.”

In addition, the services of a scientist who is due for compulsory retirement may be extended for a maximum of five years.

They can do so provided that apart from the possession of mental and physical fitness, the research project that the scientist will undertake is among the priority R&D programs of the Department.

Contributions of Science and Technology

In the explanatory note of HB 1833, one of the bills eventually consolidated into HB 8734, the developments in science and technology have contributed significantly to the country’s development.

They have advanced the economy and improved health systems, education and infrastructure.

Because of this, the State must invest in the human resources of those in the S&T field in order to promote technological advancement in the country.

In order to develop the Philippines as a budding leader in science and to ensure that the country reaps the economic fruits of technological innovation, the Filipinos scientists, engineers and other professionals in the field of science and technology must be empowered.

The lack of support for the scientific community as well as the unnecessary restrictions to them has led many Filipino scientists to seek greener pastures elsewhere.

Therefore, there is an ample need to support scientists, researchers, engineers and those in similar fields.

The government must incentivise their position within civil service to better the scientific sector in the country, according to the explanatory note of HB 6670, which was also consolidated into HB 8734.


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