November 25, 2022 | 12:00am
If we still haven’t figured it out by now, the world works in very specific ways and science helps us understand it better. The same goes for scientists whose roles are crucial in a human-centered society.
Last Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. called on Filipino scientists to stay in the country and share their expertise with the younger generation as he vowed to support their research and development initiatives. Science and technology are essential tools for innovation, wherein scientists are called to provide advise to policy makers and stakeholders within their communities in order to make the best decisions that affect every single human being with the purpose of saving and bettering lives.
In his speech during the 2022 National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) opening ceremony at the World Trade Center in Pasay City, the President urged Filipino scientists to stay in the country as they continue to pursue their careers and in turn offered continued support for them as active partners of government. While many of us know of Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity or why a food scientist such as Maria Orosa invented the banana ketchup, one must first and foremost be able to point out that science is important and affects all of us, whether we know it or not.
Science teaches us how to think, solve problems and build skills that are needed in life. Our day-to-day use of technology is in itself scientific evidence and it has significantly transformed human lives in one way or the other. Noting the invention of DNA sequencing, antibiotics, space exploration, artificial intelligence and even the internet, the mysteries of the universe are still waiting to be unlocked. With so much yet to be discovered, it is my firm belief that the heart of science is for society. Research ideas in the food and agricultural sector are, as the President recognized, not immediately integrated into government programs hence, he is seeing to it that government will set the direction in ensuring that R&D outcomes are immediately useful to farmers, businessmen, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and the rest of our Filipino citizens.
When it comes to STEM education, President Marcos urged the DOST and their partner institutions to provide more scholarships to Filipino students to develop a bigger reservoir of scientists, researchers and innovators in the country. STEM is important as learners gain an in-depth understanding of the world they live in, not to mention enhances critical thinking and innovation. I have come across a few educational articles that have pointed out how STEM jobs are the future of our economy, as employment in STEM occupations is projected to grow 8.8 percent by 2028. The pandemic has taught us that technology skills are becoming more important and our new found technology habits due to the pandemic have become building blocks for a strong STEM foundation.
As this year’s NSTW focuses on research and development (R&D) projects and services related to agriculture, food security, health, environment, water and blue economy and job creation, I fully agree with the President as he points out how this year’s celebration would be a beacon of hope for all Filipinos to bounce back better by building upon science, technology and innovation. Science truly is the greatest collective venture and the solutions it generates in our day-to-day life help us understand the great mysteries of the universe.
It is therefore important that the public continues to develop its understanding of and engagement through science in order for us to effectively respond to societal needs and global challenges through sustainable development. As we continue to find solutions for everyday life, we must in turn not only have an awareness of its value but also do our part in making our scientists feel their importance by providing them with the resources they need, simply because science is a major investment.