December 11, 2017 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

Proposed Innovation Act for third reading approval when Senate returns from break

THE SENATE is set to tackle the Philippine Innovation Act -- which calls for the creation of the interagency National Innovation Council -- on third and final reading once sessions resume in May.

Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian, in a statement yesterday, said passing the bill into law would help realize the government’s goal of turning the Philippines into a high-income economy, in accordance with the Ambisyon Natin 2040 long-term plan laid out by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

“The noble vision of a high-income Philippine economy embodied by Ambisyon Natin 2040 can only be realized if we take coordinated steps to build a thriving and inclusive national innovation superstructure. Realizing our economic potential as a people will depend largely upon our ability to develop and maintain an innovative, strategic, and adaptive economy that is fully capable of sustaining inclusive growth over the next couple of decades,” said Mr. Gatchalian, chair of the Senate committee on economic affairs and principal author of Senate Bill No. 1355.

Other than the creation of the Council, which would be tasked to prepare a long-term roadmap based on innovation and coordination of such efforts in both the private and public sector through a National Innovation Agenda and Strategy Document, the proposed legislation would also earmark approximately P1 billion to finance innovation grants for entrepreneurship.

“The Philippine Innovation Act will be the driving force behind a Philippine innovation renaissance over the next few decades. It is a smart investment we need to make today in order to secure the bright high-income future of the Philippines,” Mr. Gatchalian added.

The bill defines innovation as “the creation of new ideas that results in the development of new or improved policies, products, processes, or services which are then spread and transferred across the market.”

The main objective of the measure is to generate action from the stages of education and training to development, in order to promote innovation and internationalization activities of micro-, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), which it identified as a driver of sustainable and inclusive growth.

Food security, education, health, clean energy, disaster resilience, community development, infrastructure, traditional knowledge, and governance were among the key areas for innovation identified by the bill.

The proposed Council will be chaired by the President and co-chaired by the NEDA director-general, and would have as its members secretaries from various executive departments.

The measure was sponsored at the plenary level on March 6 and hurdled the interpellation and amendment phases on March 15. -- Lucia Edna P. de Guzman