|Technological Independence The Asian experience (UNU, 1994, 372 pages)|
|5 The Philippines|
There is merit in studying the development of S&T in other Asian countries. The combined experience of the other countries, their successes and failures, could supplement and complement our own limited experience and perhaps sharpen our responses to the challenges that we face. Japan and, to a lesser extent, the Republic of Korea loom large as possible models.
Some social observers have pointed out that seemingly crucial elements of tradition and culture that have existed in Japan and the Republic of Korea are not present in the Philippine situation. There is no such thing as a Filipino culture. Instead, we have a universe of micro-cultures with a great variety of diverse characteristics. The Llocanos are known for hard work and clannishness, while the peoples of Central Luzon exhibit their own version of the communal spirit in what is called bayanihan. The diversity of cultural traits and traditions of the Philippines could be an asset in this respect, and not a liability.
Compared with the gigantic problems of post-war Japan and of Korea in the 1960s, the problems facing the Philippines today appear relatively easy to tackle. Although the country is now buffeted by political and economic problems, it has some assets that could be capitalized on for technological development. The Philippines has one of the highest literacy rates in the world. As shown in table 2, enrolment schools is comparable to that of present-day Japan and the Republic of Korea. It has a managerial class that is experienced in some second-wave technologies. It is better endowed with natural resources than Japan and Korea. More than all these, however, the world today is rife with vast technological opportunities. The third wave of civilization engendered by the twentieth century has only just begun, and there are numerous technological possibilities for "leap-frogging" into the twenty-first century. The Philippines today has more going for it than post-war Japan and Korea. The prevailing national pessimism is mostly self-perceived and imaginary. With a little dose of self-confidence and national resolve, the Philippines could catch up with the advanced countries in the early part of the next century.