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30/04/2013: GPH Urged to Invest in Science & Technology

PRESS RELEASE
WDC-040-2013
30 April 2013

BOSTON—The Philippines should pour more money into science and technology to allow it to improve the research and development capability it needs to further boost its standing as Asia’s new tiger economy.

This was the gist of the keynote speech of Filipino-American venture capitalist and technopreneur Diosdado Banatao at the 2nd Philippine Investment Seminar which was held in Boston on Friday as part of the 2nd Philippine Investment Roadshow organized by the Philippine Embassy and the Philippine Consulate General in New York.

In his speech, Banatao, managing partner of Tallwood Venture Capital, argued for an increase in the budget for science and technology, particularly in research and development, to enhance the country’s capacity for innovation.

"The Philippine Government should jumpstart investments in science and technology to improve the country's competitiveness in electronics, biotechnology, among others," Banatao said, citing figures that placed government spending on science and technology at only 0.09% of the country’s GDP.

“We have to make science and technology attractive to the next-gen of Filipinos by making the right investments,” Banatao said. "More students should get into the math and science courses."

Banatao acknowledged the Government's interventions in terms of scholarships and partnerships with the private sector. He also strongly recommended that Philippine Science High Schools should be under the Department of Education and not the Department of Science and Technology in order to further strengthen science education programs.

According to Banatao, there is a need to encourage more Filipino students to take engineering, science and technology courses and to produce many doctorate degree holders in these fields. “The Philippines is faring low compared with its neighbors in terms of the number of PhD graduates produced,” said Banatao.

To strengthen the country’s competitiveness, industry experts and analysts recommend the establishment of science and technology centers of excellence; and the implementation of more focused manpower and institutional development programs, such as the Engineering and Science Education Program.

In addition, they recommend the establishment of regional centers of research and development to support specific industries and closely linked with the science and technology centers of excellence; and the creation of business centers, near the centers of excellence, which will assist, advise and incubate technopreneurship ventures.

Banatao is helping the Philippines move closer to this through Phildev, a nonprofit organization that seeks to help the Philippines attain a sustainable, long-term economic growth, where he sits as Chairman. Phildev's projects in the Philippines include those that improve the quality education and the provision of Internet access to elementary and high school students.

As an engineer, Banatao is credited with developing several key semiconductor technologies and is regarded as a Silicon Valley visionary. His Tallwood Venture Capital invests in unique and hard-to-do semiconductor technology solutions for computing, communication, and consumer platforms.

According to Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr., Banatao took time off his busy schedule to participate in the investment roadshow in Boston upon the invitation of fellow Phildev board member Sheila Lirio Marcelo, one of the more successful Filipino-American entrepreneurs in the United States and the founder of Care.com, one of the largest and fastest growing company in the field of providing services used by families to find care-givers. ###