January 29, 2012
SPUR INNOVATION TO CREATE MORE LONG-LASTING JOBS - ANGARA
Senator Edgardo J. Angara urged the Aquino administration to pour significant resources into projects that promote innovation and R&D so that more employment opportunities are created, especially in light of a new report by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) showing that 600 million new jobs are needed globally over the next 10 years as an effect of the global economic recession.
Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, also noted that according to the Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics (BLES), out of the 1.5 million people who were not actively looking for work in 2010, around 470,000 shared that they believed no work was available for them.
"This highlights just how much we need to jumpstart job creation and growth throughout the country. We need to imbibe a different personality to the way we manage our economy so that more jobs are available to our people," said Angara, who is also Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science, Technology and Engineering (COMSTE).
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) recently announced that it expects around 1.63 million jobs will be created this year, most of them coming from large-scale infrastructure projects.
Labor Undersecretary Danilo P. Cruz estimated that public investments for infrastructure worth P224 billion will generate at least 461,440 jobs, with private investments worth P571 billion giving employment to 1.177 million jobs seekers.
"The government definitely has to catch up not only on its underspending but also on its responsibility to spur economic growth and employment," said Angara. "While our infrastructure does need a lot of improving, the jobs generated effectively end once the projects are finished. We must therefore make sure that the jobs we generate are long-lasting."
Angara noted that P300 million has been released to the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) for the establishment of an Advanced Failure Analysis Laboratory where stakeholders in the semicon and electronics industry can conduct research and development to improve their products and enhance their competitiveness.
"We welcome this development, as it is a clear example of how we would want the government to spend its funds for economic growth," stressed Angara. "Building on our capacity for R&D and cultivating a culture of innovation not only boosts the competitiveness of our products but also increases the chances for new industries and thus even more jobs to be created."
Angara noted that COMSTE has been advocating for the creation of "innovation clusters," which are collaborations among government, the academe and the private sector in conducting purposive R&D and using world-class science and technology to solve the nation's most pressing problems, such as job creation.
Around P310 million out of the 2012 budget has been devoted for the deployment of these clusters that will tackle Algae Research and Commercialization; ICT for Cloud Computing and Software as a Service; Disaster Science and Management; Precision Farming and Smart Agriculture; and Responsible Mining Technologies.