Speaker: Dr Segundo Joaquin “Doy” Romero: School of Government, Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines
Date: 11 February 2016
Time: 12:15 for 12:30 -13:30
The Philippines is a nation of 100 million people spread across an archipelago of 7,200 islands in the West Pacific, along the earthquake and volcano “Rim of Fire”, that is in the direct path of 20 typhoons a year. This demographic and geographic context already defines the challenges for science, technology, and innovation in this country – increasing the Filipinos’ control over their natural and human environment to make life possible, livable, and sustainable. But one out of four Filipino families is poor, living below the poverty threshold, and suffering not only the lack of food, clothing, shelter, and security, but also the social exclusion from the resources, capabilities, and opportunities such as education, health, and livelihood for escaping poverty for the current generation, and future generations to come.
The Philippines has achieved remarkable economic growth over the past five years under President Aquino, and is projected to continue growing at least 6 percent annually over the next three years. This achievement undoubtedly has benefited from the conscious use of science, technology, and innovation in enhancing the nation’s economic fundamentals. Such an achievement, however, is remarkable also in its astonishing failure to widely distribute the benefits of development to the poor and marginalized sectors of Philippine society. The Gini Index of the Philippines of 43 is one of the highest levels of inequality in Southeast Asia.
The government has endeavored to use science, technology, and innovation for “inclusive growth” over the past four decades through programs such as Green Revolution, Filipinnovation, Science and Technology Master Plans, Magna Carta for Science and Technology Personnel, Project NOAH (Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards), but why is it that only the elites and the middle class seem to have benefited from the opportunities provided by government?”
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