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Legarda: Innovation Should Be at the Center of Dev’t Policies to Drive Inclusive Growth

July 19, 2016

Senator Loren Legarda has filed a bill seeking to adopt innovation as a vital component of the country’s development policies, stressing the pivotal role of innovation in economic development by promoting the growth and national competitiveness of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

“In the Philippines, where 99.6 percent of businesses are considered MSMEs, the role of innovation cannot be overemphasized. Unfortunately, MSMEs are at a disadvantage compared to big companies because of their size and lack of access to resources and markets,” Legarda pointed out.

Recognizing science and technology as essential for national development and progress, the Senator seeks to generate and scale up action in all levels and areas of education, training, research and development towards promoting innovation and internationalization of activities of MSMEs as driver of sustainable and inclusive growth, placing innovation at the center of the nation’s development policies, through Senate Bill No. 38.

“The government should use science, innovation and technology in transforming the Philippines into a competitive nation. The science community is a vital sector that must be tapped to provide the needed innovations to address the pressing needs of the various sectors particularly the MSMEs. The state, therefore, shall adopt a broader view in developing its innovation goals and strategies covering all potential types and sources of innovation including social innovation and marketing innovation; among others,” Legarda stressed.

The 2015 Global Innovation Index of the World Intellectual Property Organization ranked the Philippines 83rd out of 141 economies on a range of global innovation indexes that include institutional environment, human capital and research, infrastructure, business sophistication, knowledge and technology outputs, and creative outputs.

“Clearly, fundamental weaknesses in the country’s innovation system need to be addressed, including weak public-private collaboration in R&D; weak technology transfer system; issues on technology ownership and information sharing; declining human capital in research and development; poor inter-agency and multi-sectoral collaboration in order for the MSMEs to comply with the commercial requirements of big businesses who are now engaging MSMEs as part of their strategies in expanding their markets,” Legarda said, noting the huge potential of MSMEs to access international markets if only their untapped potential for developing new products and processes can be fully developed.

SBN 38 aims to promote a culture of innovation to encourage creative thinking and knowledge creation and dissemination towards expanding and maintaining economic competitiveness; improve innovation governance in the country and to compel the adoption of a long-term vision and focused priorities for innovation as driver for sustainable and inclusive growth; and ensure effective coordination and eliminate fragmentation of innovation policies and programs at all levels.

The bill also seeks to strengthen the position of MSMEs in the innovation system; remove obstacles to innovation by suppressing bureaucratic hurdles; encourage entrepreneurial attitude in order to stimulate growth ambitions in businesses, especially among MSMEs; and strengthen partnerships among different actors from the public and private sector, academe, MSMEs, R&D institutions and communities towards promoting inclusive growth and improving the quality of life through innovation.