Three members of the House of Representatives expressed their support to increase the funding of the National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP) for 2021 during this year’s budget hearing of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
Lanao Del Norte, 2nd District, Congressman Abdullah Dimaporo, requested DOST to increase the Research and Development (R&D) budget of NRCP from the present Php 18 million to at least Php 80 million. He cited that the NRCP has provided support through research for their hydropower projects along Agos River and Lake Lanao in Lanao Del Norte.
"I understand that they have so many projects especially because of the present pandemic and they still need more budget to do things that are very necessary not only for us but for the country," shared Dimaporo.
Congressman Edward Maceda of the 4th District of Manila likewise shared during the DOST plenary budget hearing that the NRCP can help the country resuscitate the economy when given the support it needs, citing at least Php 85 million atop its existing budget. He also said that providing funds to the attached agencies of the DOST such as NRCP has the potential to boost the country's creative industry.
Citing that the NRCP is a bastion of the brightest minds in the country, former Senator and current Antique Congresswoman Loren Legarda raised the “sad state” of funding to NRCP's R&D.
"For the best minds of science who are doing advisory to the Congress and Senate to have a measly allocation of P 18 million for R&D, I must be seeing something wrong with their budget," Legarda said, comparing it to a farm-to-market road that costs Php 12 million in the barangay level alone.
Legarda further shared the different functions of the NRCP such as fostering linkages with scientific organizations and local governance, reducing disaster risk, and promoting scientific and technological innovations in all sectors of society.
"We claim that we have increased by how many notches in the Global Innovation Index but not such a measly allocation for the scientific community represented by the NRCP," Legarda added.
To improve the sector of the national scientists and for the NRCP to receive more than 144.5 million, Legarda proposed a national amendment to address the gaps that limit the said agency's funding.
In response, Vice Chair on Appropriations Cong. Rozzano Rufino B. Biazon who was defending the DOST budget, shared, “We will be taking measures or steps to make that proposal. As mentioned in the earlier interpellations, there are initiatives to help the agency. The advocacy of the distinguished lady is something I do agree with, therefore, at the appropriate time, we will take that recommendation.”