The measure that will streamline the process of providing benefits and incentives to Science and Technology (S&T) government personnel has been approved by the Senate on third and final reading.
Via a 15-0 vote, the Senate approved Senate Bill No. 1534, which seeks to amend Republic Act 8439 or the Magna Carta for Scientists to enable government to give benefits and incentives to scientists, engineers, researchers and other (S&T) government personnel.
“Ngayong pataas ng pataas na ang presyo ng bilihin, kailangang i-secure ang kabuhayan at benepisyo ng mga Pilipino, kabilang na riyan ang ating mga scientist, engineer at iba pang may kinalaman sa pagsasaliksik,” said Sen. Bam, the principal sponsor and co-author of the measure as chairman of the Committee on Science and Technology.
“As SciTech Chair, we must show our scientists, engineers and researchers that they are valuable by ensuring they get the right support and the right benefits,” stressed Sen. Bam, adding that he will continue to push for programs and measures to support research and development opportunities in our country.
Sen. Bam saw the need to amend RA 8439 to avert the exodus of S&T professionals from crucial government agencies such as PAGASA and PHILVOLCS for greener pastures abroad. Among the reasons mentioned for their departure are uncompetitive local compensation and protracted processing of hazard pay.
If enacted into law, Senate Bill No. 1534 will remove set limits on honoraria for S&T professionals in government even when sourced from external grants and foster ease in accessing benefits for S&T personnel in departments and agencies other than the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
“It is high time we deliberately retain and empower our Filipino scientists, engineers, researchers and other S&T practitioners, so we may harness the benefits of S&T to further our national agenda,” said Sen. Bam.