Balik Scientist Bill nears passage into law

Darryl Esguerra
PUBLISHED March 8, 2018 04:29 pm
The bill, according to its authors, will encourage Filipino scientists to return to the country and help in the nation’s research and development.

(Inside Manila) A bill looking to address the lack of science professionals in the Philippines caused by the exodus of scientists and researchers to other countries has hurdled the bicameral conference committee in the Senate and is now closer to becoming a law.


The Senate contingent, led by Sen. Bam Aquino and its counterpart from the House, headed by Erico Aumentado, polished the “disagreeing provisions” of their respective versions.


“Once enacted into law, this should encourage Filipino scientists to return to the country and help in the nation’s research and development,” said Aquino, principal author of the bill’s Senate version.


The bill seeks to institutionalize the Balik Scientist Program of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) that gives incentives and benefits to Filipino scientists who return to work in the country.


The DOST defines "balik scientists" as Filipino citizens, former Filipino citizens, or foreigners of Filipino descent who live abroad and are contracted by the government to work in the Philippines for a certain period of time. The program started in 1975 and reinstated at DOST in 1993.


At present, the country only has 189 scientists per million people, which Aquino said is a far cry from UNESCO’s standard of 380 scientists per million.

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