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Industrialization a must in achieving economic growth and independence.

AGHAM Advocates of Science and Technology for the People celebrates the resumption of the formal peace talks between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front (NDF). Scientists are one with the Filipinos who are raring to see the peace process succeed, which would be a step forward in addressing the root causes of armed conflict in the Philippines. We expect the peace talks to discuss meaningful socioeconomic issues and reforms, such as national industrialization.

We are glad that both parties recognize that to solve the country's current economic woes, we need to industrialize.

One reason the Philippines has a backward, preindustrial, agrarian economy is the absence of its own basic industries. Upon the nationalization and establishment of strategic industries, the country will be able to wisely use its natural resources to provide basic needs and sufficient services to its people. Only then will genuine and sustained economic growth and independence become feasible.

We believe that national industrialization will pave the way for the development of science and technology. The lack of the necessary know-how and capacity to develop modern products and technologies will be addressed. This will lead to a self-reliant economy that is opposite to the current orientation to export cheap agricultural products and raw materials. We will be able to facilitate effective technology transfer, and enhance faster local technological innovation that will make the country independent of imported technologies and products.

The aspirations of both parties to push for national industrialization have given rise to optimism in the scientific community. We welcome the NDF's push to build basic industries as well as President Duterte's statement about reviving the local steel industry.

We are looking forward to the realization of these aspirations after the conclusion of a successful peace talks.

The other agenda that scientists want discussed in the peace talks are the following: adequate budget for research and development, protection of the rights and welfare of scientists and technologists, particularly by increasing their salaries and benefits and eliminating contractualization in their ranks.

We call on the science community to support the peace talks as scientists will play a vital role in pursuing national industrialization and economic development. We cannot achieve science and technological development or economic progress without peace, or with a civil war raging in the countryside. Only by addressing the root causes of armed conflict can we achieve just and lasting peace and pursue national industrialization. Thus will our country rise from the rubble of poverty.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Sep 12, 2016
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