January 13, 2016 – Concerned science groups issued statements expressing opposition to the proposal of either repealing or amending R.A. 8439 otherwise known as Magna Carta for Science and Technology workers in the government as a provision in the pending bill on Salary Standardization Law of 2015.
Angelo Palmones, President, Alyansa ng mga Grupong Haligi ng Agham at Teknolohiya para sa Mamamayan (AGHAM) said this move is not logical and untimely.
“The science community and science advocates worked hard for years for the passage of R.A. 8439. Its implementation is one way of sustaining and maintaining necessary talent and manpower for S & T,” Palmones said.
Palmones said the wisdom and relevance of R.A. 8439 is strengthened by reports on economic data which showed that S & T contribution to economic growth of developed countries is 70%; in underdeveloped countries – 30%; and in the Philippines about 40%.
Philippine Weathermen Employee Association (PWEA) president Ramon Agustin said the provision to repeal R.A. 8439 is a threat to the economic well-being of not only the Pagasa employees but all S & T workers. Many weather experts have left the country for a better paying work abroad.
“The law has been in existence since 1998 but was only funded through the GAA only recently. but now on the verge of returning back to the old days when we virtually begged for funding. We cannot afford to go back to these dark past. We will absolutely oppose this provision to protect our rights” Agustin emphasized
Agustin added the PWEA fully supports the immediate passage of SSL4 for the welfare of all government workers. However, their group and other science groups hopefully pray not to include R.A 8439 for repeal.
“The provision under SSL 4 threatening to repeal R.A. 8439 is a proof that not the entire government recognizes and truly understood the value of science and technology in contributing to the Philippine economy through several programs that are geared towards uplifting the local industry competitiveness, increasing the number of S&T human capital, improving our agriculture sector, and our efforts in disaster mitigation to name a few.” Joy Lascano President of S&T Information Institute Employees Association said.
He said for so long, the government has not learned from the past and continuously challenging the law that hopes to encourage more S&T workers to stay and serve the country.
“Let us remind them that no country has ever attained progress without science, technology, and its human capital,” Lascano added
“It is never too late for the country to invest more in S & T, particularly in its S & T manpower. The magna carta is a piece of legislation which full implementation can help harness the full potential of S & T and reap its optimum economic benefits for the country, ” Palmones added.
Palmones was a member of the 15th Congress (2010-2013) as AGHAM Party-list Representative of the science sector. During his term, Palmones helped author 11 science laws.
AGHAM is again joining the 2016 elections. (AGHAM/Vicky B. Bartilet)