FOR 30 years, the semiconductor and electronics industry in the Philippines has significantly contributed to the economy, yet the industry has been limited to manufacturing intermediate products, assembly and testing services.
Hopefully, things will get better. In line with this year’s theme for the National Science and Technology Week (NSTW), “Science for the People: Innovation for Collective Prosperity,” the Department of Science and Technology and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) formally launched the Electronics Product Development Center (EPDC) Inclusive Innovation Center (EPIIC). The goal: encourage and support local Filipino electronics entrepreneurs to design and manufacture final products that can be put to market through the DTI.
This project was implemented by the Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI), headed by Joel Marciano Jr.
“We want to help the small, micro, medium electronics industry enterprises that produce chips and devices and sell to companies in the Peza [Philippine Economic Zone Authority] zones to now be able to produce them into appliances or other electronic equipment,” Science Undersecretary for Research and Development Rowena Guevara said at a news conference after the opening of the 2018 NSTW celebration at the World Trade Center in Pasay City on July 17.
Guevara emphasized that the role of the EPIIC is to build electronic products that are proudly Filipino made.
“At the electronic product inclusive innovation center, Filipinos can now generate products from the ideas of our Filipino inventors, made by Filipinos, manufactured by Filipinos for the Filipinos,” she added.
With the DTI partnership, finished products made by technology generators from the DOST will surely be put in the market. This partnership is through a memorandum of agreement on Inclusive Innovation and Entrepreneurship Roadmapping signed last year by
Science Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña pointed out there is enough knowledge and creativity among Filipinos. “They only need our support or facilities so they can make new designs and products.”
The secretary hopes that this initiative, aside from providing domestic employment opportunities and attracting foreign investors, will create new product lines and new companies, promote import substitution and exports in the Asean region that will definitely boost the country’s GDP, therefore inclining with the socioeconomic agenda of President Duterte.
“’Expanding our potentials for growth’ is, I think, the President’s keyword,” said de la Peña. “We cannot simply follow a linear trend of what we’re doing. We have to go exponential and this is one way we could drive and help the country’s economy.”
“This is only the first [initiative under the Inclusive Innovation and Entrepreneurship Roadmapping],” Guevara said. The EPIIC is the initial project and could lead to further initiatives in medicine, agriculture, biotechnology, to name a few.
Duterte, in a speech delivered by Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez, also said his administration fully committed to support the DOST initiatives through various programs, such as finally signing into law the Balik Scientist Act, and boosting the current budget of the department with a higher outlay in the 2018 General Appropriations Act (GAA) budget.
From P20.77 billion to P21.2 billion this year, the budget will carry on programs, such as development in S&T regions; the development of the agricultural, aquatic and natural resources sector; and the Small Enterprises Technology Upgrading Program or SETUP.
“The DOST’s initiative in transforming marginalized communities through S&T must be further pursued and supported through collaborations with local government units, other government agencies and relevant organizations,” said the President in his speech.
Image credits: Roy Domingo