by Flor Lacanilao
An editorial of the journal Nature (25 October 2012) is A vote for science This is In support and recognition of Obama's concerns for science and environmental issues. It also says, it gives Obama a clear advantage over Mitt Romney.
Earlier supports for Obama's science programs were also expressed by voters in Obama’s science report card (Scientist, October 1, 2012 ), and by 68 Nobel Prize winners in Obama Picks Up Nobel Endorsements (ScienceInsider, 18 October 2012).
Voters gave Obama grades for Environment (B+), Health (A), Science Education (A), and Energy (B). The laureates wrote in their letter, “President Obama understands the key role science has played in building a prosperous America.”
Of course Obama's men and women in charge of his science-related programs -- and the over 20 in the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology -- are top scientists and Nobel laureates. In previous posts, I showed that so many Chinese leaders and some Indian Presidents & Prime Ministers have been/are trained scientists. Such selected people are also found managing science programs in fast developing neighbor countries like Singapore, Taiwan, and South Korea.
On the other hand, President Aquino would need more scientists in his cabinet -- urgently in need are in science and higher education -- if we are to catch up with some neighbor countries. They will strengthen the two scientist Secretaries he has now in his cabinet -- Arsenio Balisacan of NEDA and Enrique Ona of DOH.
Reviewing performance to improve Aquino's report card
In Crucial role of S&T, education in dev’t (Philippine Daily Inquirer, 21 July 2011), I describe how to assess/select people to put in charge, using the established indicators, like peer-reviewed international journals, as minimum requirement. For some reasons, we have been ignoring it, and this to blame for the poor state of Philippine science and education, the root cause why we have been unable to sustain progress.
For instance, in 2005, after nearly 50 years of our S&T agency (DOST) and nearly 30 years of our science academy (NAST), the total scientific publications of the Philippines were only 178. Whereas those of tiny Singapore, smaller Taiwan, and South Korea were, respectively, over 3,600, 10,800, and 16,400 (Data from WK Cummings, courtesy of Dr. Lawrence M. Liao, Filipino scientist at Hiroshima University).
1) ADB raises growth forecast for Philippines (PDI, 4 Oct 2012)
The Asian Development Bank has cited the Philippines as one of the few exceptional cases in terms of economic expansion, raising its growth outlook for the country from 4.8 to 5.5 percent for 2012 while it scaled down its forecasts for other developing countries in the region.
Meanwhile, Neeraj Jain, ADB country director for the Philippines, said, “Despite growth, poverty incidence in the Philippines rose from 2003 to 2009. That is a cause for concern,” Poverty rate stood at 24.9 % in 2003 and 26.5 % in 2009.
2) PH ranking in doing business slips (PDI, 24 Oct 2012)
While positive developments have been happening to the country since the Aquino administration took over in 2010, the Philippines slipped two notches in the global rankings of the ease in doing business -- to 138th from 136th. This is due to the absence of significant reforms in dealings with various government agencies.
The “Doing Business 2013” report of the World Bank, released Tuesday, showed that the Philippines registered slightly poorer rankings in almost all categories of the ease in doing business in June 2011 to June 2012, compared with those recorded in the previous one-year. Other Asean countries show better ratings.
This can be seen in his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) -- whether his programs and claimed achievements are sustainable, whether the programs are guided by the accepted basic prerequisites of growth, and whether the progress is measured by indicators of equitable well-being.
The two internationally proven prerequisites of sustainable prosperity are higher education and science. Measuring progress with the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has proven to be faulty in some developed countries. It has not benefited our poor communities. How then would you rate the SONA along these lines?
Also posted as, The need for accurate measures to assess the state of the nation.
4) Problems with media and scientists (The Philippine Star, July 27, 2006)
The public will remain uninformed and uneducated in science until the media professionals decide otherwise, until they stop quoting charlatans and quacks, and until respected scientists speak up. –- Scientist, 16 April 1990.
Also posted at,
I hasten to say that science is not the only way of knowing things. Through religion, through literature, reflection, meditation, and any number of other approaches, we gain understanding and knowledge of our world. But the most reliable knowledge—that can be applied societally, to an entire community or country—is knowledge that has been tested empirically, that is based on the leveling effect of evidence. Evidence shouldn't depend on one’s socioeconomic status or one’s political affiliation. Evidence has a democratizing effect that is healthy for our country. It’s the most politically useful way of knowing things. (Rush Holt, Mixing Science and Politics)
Retired professor of marine science
University of the Philippines Diliman
Popular posts from this blog
MGA TANONG AT SAGOT HINGGIL SA Kto12 PROGRAM NG GOBYERNO NG PILIPINAS Posted on May 28, 2012 by David Michael San Juan MGA TANONG AT SAGOT HINGGIL SA Kto12 PROGRAM NG GOBYERNO NG PILIPINAS (Paunawa: Simpleng lenggwahe ang ginamit sa artikulong ito upang madaling maintindihan ng mayorya.) For the full English version please visit http://www.scribd.com/david_juan_1/d/70033985-San-Juan-David-Michael-Full-Paper-Kto12 TANONG: ANO ANG KTO12 PROGRAM? SAGOT: Ang Kto12 Program ng gobyerno ng Pilipinas ay tumutukoy sa pagkakaroon ng mandatory o required na kindergarten at karagdagang 2 taon sa dating 10-year Basic Education Cycle. Kung noon, pagkatapos ng anim na taon sa elementarya at apat na taon sa hayskul (kabuuang 10 taon) ay maaari nang makapagkolehiyo ang mga estudyante. Sa ilalim ng Kto12, bago makapagkolehiyo, kailangan pa nilang dumaan sa karagdagang 2 taon pagkatapos ng apat na taong hayskul. Sa bagong sistema, tinatawag na senior high school o junior
This blog now averages about 1500 views per day. It has more than 600 posts and the number of visits from the Philippines has now reached a total of 300,000. It has been more than a year and while trying to condense this entire blog into its most salient points, I came across Diane Ravitch's new book " Reign of Error ". (Ravitch, Diane (2013-09-17). Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools (Kindle Locations 6029-6030). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.) The book is notably and strongly supported by data and research.
There is information to be gained from data. Tests in schools can be informative. Scores of students provide a quick glimpse of the current state of education. Thus, it is useful to have these numbers. These numbers may not tell everything in detail with high accuracy. Nevertheless, test results allow for a useful perspective. The National Achievement Test administered by the Department of Education (DepEd) in the Philippines, a set of standardized tests addressing the major subjects taught in school, is an example. These tests are given to Grade 3 where students are assessed in both English and Filipino (These two subjects comprise two thirds of the exam) and Math and Science (These two account for the remaining one third). A different set of tests is given to Grade 6 pupils where each of the following 5 subjects is assigned 40 items: (Science, Math, English, Filipino and Social Studies). Another set is administered to fourth year high school students (This is currently the last year