SEN. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson pledged to provide Filipino scientists “free” housing units and vehicles on top of better salaries if elected president in May.
The senator and independent presidential candidate said the “contributions of Filipino scientists to help solve the challenges of living in modern society would not be left unappreciated” under his presidency.
Lacson said he and running mate Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto 3rd plan to offer “more dignified” compensation packages for those who are supporting the research and development (R&D) sector, especially in aid of farmers.
The tandem said it is open to the suggestion of one of its senatorial candidates, former Agriculture secretary Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol, to consider granting Filipino scientists a special rate separate from the normal civil service salary grading of government employees to keep them motivated.
“Tama ‘yung sinabi ni Sec. Manny Piñol, scientist ka, bigyan ka ng incentive, bigyan ka ng mataas na salary grade, alisin ka doon sa linyada sa civil service ng Civil Service Commission (Secretary Manny Piñol was right. If you are a scientist, you deserve an incentive, a higher salary grade that distinguishes you from the ranks of civil service employees under the Civil Service Commission),” Lacson said in a recent town hall forum with residents, farmers and researchers in Zamboanga Sibugay.
“We have a lot of talented researchers, but due to lack of funding and support, they are forced to take their talents abroad where they are supported. Once they develop their inventions there, we buy it back; but while they were here, we let them go,” he added.
Lacson and Sotto visited Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay on March 30 along with Piñol and fellow senatorial aspirant Dr. Minguita Padilla. They were informed of the many challenges confronting the farming sector, which the scientific community could help address with better research funding.
The senator reiterated the need to invest further in R&D, which is only receiving 0.4 percent from the national budget.
Under his administration, Lacson said he will increase the allotment to at least 2 percent so that more scientists will support the agriculture, public health and engineering sectors.
“I have always been appreciative of the research and development [industry] because it helps our country survive, so that we don’t have to keep buying [products and services] from other countries,” he said.
Piñol assured Filipinos that if Lacson and Sotto get elected, the growth of R&D and science and technology sectors in the country may be expected because they are going to pay attention and provide ample support for the people working for and developing these industries.