PH should boost R and D sector – economist

Chrisee Dela Paz
PH should boost R and D sector – economist
The Philippines needs to build more farm-to-market roads and boost the research and development sector to sustain, or even improve, its economic growth, says an economist

MANILA, Philippines — Stimulating growth for the Philippines’ research and development (R&D) industry is the biggest shortcoming under the current administration, an economist said.

“I think our biggest shortcoming really is in the area of research and development. Look at Thailand today. The country is a major exporter, which has done serious research,” Donald Dee, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industries honorary chairman, said during a roundtable discussion on Wednesday, July 15.

According to the Bangkok Post, Thailand is ramping up its R&D so that it can catch up with neighbors like Malaysia and Singapore. R&D has helped these 3 countries boost their stand as major exporters in the region.

Meanwhile, Philippine merchandise exports fell by 17.4% in May, the sharpest drop since December 2011, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) announced on Friday, July 10.

NEDA said the latest export figures signal a “slowdown of the global economy,” which should prompt Philippine authorities to implement mitigating measures.

For Dee, developing the country’s R&D sector, will help us step up among neighboring economies. The Philippines, however, needs to have an industry roadmap first, he added.

“We need a research community for both the public and private sectors where researchers can share their knowledge and expertise, and innovate new technology together,” Dee said.

RURAL-URBAN CONNECTION. We need infrastructure, especially farm-to-market roads. The problem with us is that we are not export-oriented. We are not outward looking, PCCI's Dee says. In the photo are economists discussing the Philippines' competitiveness come ASEAN integration. Photo by Chrisee Dela Paz / Rappler

Lack of farm-to-market roads

Other than developing the country’s R&D industry, Dee also said the Philippines should “build more permanent farm-to-market roads.”

We need infrastructure, especially farm-to-market roads. The problem with us is that we are not export-oriented. We are not outward-looking,” Dee said.

Outside the National Capital Region, boosting exports has not been pushed further, the PCCI honorary chairman said.

“It’s either we have a shortage of raw material or the cost of moving goods from rural areas to the Metro is so expensive,” he explained.

Dee said that it is “too late” for the administration of President Benigno Aquino III to institute reforms that will make the Philippines a more viable economic destination.

“It is now up to the next administration. It starts with a good cleaning up, and then finally opening the house to sustained prosperity,” ADR Institute president Victor Manhit said in his closing speech. –

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