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Sen. Gatchalian champions PHP 1 billion investment in PH innovation

PASAY CITY, Philippines – Akin to athletes strategizing in a ball game, Senators (from left) Win Gatchalian, Dick Gordon, Nancy Binay and Migz Zubiri, huddle at the Senate session to discuss pieces of legislation, 8 March 2017. Gatchalian wants to develop a culture of innovation that will propel the country to an economic powerhouse thru the Philippine Innovation Act. Photo by Mark Cayabyab/OS GATCHALIAN

Senator Win Gatchalian is championing a landmark measure before the Senate that seeks to invest PHP 1 billion in the establishment of a long term national strategy to usher in a golden age of Philippine economic development and progress, with innovation as its driving force.

“On the whole, what this legislation intends to achieve is to make innovation a major driver of economic growth and a key foundation of a more inclusive future. It compels us to place innovation at the center of our development policies to enable the country to move as a coherent whole,” Gatchalian said during his sponsorship speech for Senate Bill No. 1355, the Philippine Innovation Act.

Section 9 of SBN 1355 establishes the National Innovation Council (NIC), an inter-agency body chaired by the President of the Philippines and composed of 16 cabinet secretaries from key line agencies, as well as 7 executive members from the business sector, the academe, and the scientific community.

The Council will be tasked to facilitate the adoption of a clear and inspiring long-term view of the country’s innovation vision, improve the governance framework for innovation, and mandate key reform areas toward building a thriving and inclusive national innovation ecosystem.

To achieve the measure’s ambitious innovation agenda, the Council is mandated by Sec. 6 of the bill to formulate a National Innovation Agenda and Strategy Document (NIASD).

The NIASD will establish the country’s vision and long-term goals for innovation and provide a ten-year strategic roadmap, crafted in consultation with regional development councils, local government units, and other stakeholders, for improving innovation governance through the creation of clear-cut synergies of innovation efforts across agencies.

“We cannot anymore afford to take half-steps, or sporadic efforts, in our bid to fuel sustainable and inclusive growth. We need to finally develop a culture of innovation that will propel our nation to an economic success,” Gatchalian said.

The long term strategy developed through this measure will be operationalized through the establishment of the Innovation Fund created by Sec. 20 of the measure.

Administered by the NIC, the Innovation Fund will be used to finance PHP 1 Billion worth of innovation grants to strengthen entrepreneurship and provide support to enterprises engaged in developing innovative solutions benefiting the poorest of the poor.

“This legislation will change the rules of the game: a Filipino with an innovative idea will no longer have to look elsewhere for support. This will not only transform our country to an economic powerhouse; it can also turn innovators into patriots,” Gatchalian said.

SBN 1355, reported out to the plenary by the Senate Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Gatchalian, was authored by Senator Loren Legarda. The original measure, Senate Bill No. 38, was one of the priority measures filed by Legarda at the start of the 17th Congress.