What’s the Agenda?

Posted on Posted in 2022-2023

By: Lance Cu Pangilinan


With the uncertainty of the future, we all try to find some kind of certainty by setting goals for ourselves towards growth. In the same way, the national government sets particular programs, projects, and activities (PPA) that they set  in place so as to further improve the quality of life and state of development of the country. Albeit slowly but surely. These projects are consolidated by the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) into the National Priority Plan (NPP), which are released annually. This article hopes to highlight the initiatives of the NPP for 2023 so as to provide greater perspective on the many unnoticed efforts by the state towards development and their implications towards economic and socio-political progress.


The NPP was first passed into law under the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997, particularly under chapter 7, section 34(H).2.a. It details that donations towards the national government, its agencies or any political subdivisions, will be used towards funding “priority activities in education, health, youth and sports development, human settlements, science and culture, and in economic development” (Republic Act No. 8424, 1997). It is also described here that the responsibility of issuing these list of priority initiatives lie with NEDA in consultation with not only regional development councils but also private philanthropic individuals and institutions. 


For this year, most of the PPAs would be implemented by subdivisions of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) such as the: Technology Application and Promotion Institute (TAPI), the National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP), the Science and Technology Information Institute (STII), and the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI). 


The heavy emphasis placed on S&T for this year is likely due to the chronic issue plaguing the country with regards to its S&T sector. As of 2019, it was said by the Outstanding Young Scientists, Inc. president Merlyn Mendioro that the Philippines only has 189 scientists per million Filipinos, less than half of the ideal ratio (380 scientists per million population) (Arayata, 2019). It may also be seen that the Philippines’ R&D expenditure as a percentage of GDP was 0.32% (2018) compared to their ASEAN neighbors like Malaysia (1.04% as of 2019) or Thailand (1.14% as of 2019) (World Bank, 2022). As such, there is much room for improvement when it comes to S&T. 


The PPAs for this year fall under three categories:

  • S&T education
  • Access to S&T information and knowledge
  • Food security through S&T innovations


Under S&T education, there is the Invent School Program (ISP), Support for the Promotion of a Science Culture in the Regions for Global Competitiveness (SPSCRGC), and Research and Development Science Laboratories (RDSL). ISP works to promote interest and curiosity within Filipino students through workshops that focus on innovation, development, and intellectual property rights. SPSCRGC focuses on creating researchers throughout the regions by providing opportunities for trainings, consultations, and research funding. RDSL works to establish the Research and Development Laboratory in each campus within the Philippine Highschool system so as to improve the cultivation of scientific talent and quality of STEM education.


In improving the access to S&T knowledge, there is the Continued Operation and Broadcast of DOST Channel (DOSTv) and Science and Technology Academic Research-Based Openly Operated Kiosks (STARBOOKS). DOSTv program is the dedicated channel (on its official website, Facebook, and YouTube) for communicating S&T information targeted towards the youth, featuring innovations that are relevant and beneficial towards the current administration’s socioeconomic agenda. Meanwhile, STARBOOKS is a digital information center within a kiosk containing rich S&T resources in varying modalities (text, audio, and visual) so as to empower S&T education amongst students in more far-flung regions.


Finally, the Malnutrition Reduction Program (MRP) is the PPA meant to combat food security through the use of local technology. Particularly, it creates food blends and snacks so as to supplement the nutritional needs of young children nationwide.


The NPP’s focus on S&T relates very closely to authentic socioeconomic development as innovations in technology often improve the efficiency of our already scarce resources as well as improving the living standards of the country. 


This idea is better encapsulated through the Solow-Swan Growth Model which is the standard theory about long run growth that is used in macroeconomics. The model understands technological progress as new scientific discoveries that may help people become better at their work or equip them with better tools. Thus, there is a positive relationship between S&T with labor productivity which, in turn, promotes economic growth. But there also is a side to the model which equates the standard of living as a function of technological progress and the capital stock per capita (as represented by the graph below). This then highlights the same relationship with respect to economic development and human well-being.


A graph of standard of living (y) being a function of technological progress (A) and capital per capita (k) raised to capital’s share in the production process (𝛼)


Overall, this NPP 2023’s direction focused on S&T is a step in the right direction in tackling a long-neglected issue that plagues this nation. Not only yielding economic growth and development but also enabling more organic means of knowledge production in the country. Ultimately, as we find ourselves at the dawn of the year, let us hope for good tidings not only in our personal lives but also that of state ventures.


For more information on the programs discussed, view this supplementary document organized by NEDA:  https://tinyurl.com/2zvdrph5 



Arayata, C. (2019, July 12). Ph needs more scientists: Nast. Philippine News Agency. Retrieved January 23, 2023, from https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1074747 

National priority plans. National Economic and Development Authority. (2023, January 11). Retrieved January 23, 2023, from https://neda.gov.ph/national-priority-plans/ 

Tax Reform Act of 1997, Rep. Act No. 8424, § 34(H) O.G. (December 11, 1997) (Phil.), https://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/1997/12/11/republic-act-no-8424/

World Bank. (2022). Research and development expenditure (% of GDP). Retrieved January 23, 2023, from https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/GB.XPD.RSDV.GD.ZS?name_desc=false 


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