|Technological Independence The Asian experience (UNU, 1994, 372 pages)|
|5 The Philippines|
If there is a commonality at all between the technological histories of Japan, China, and Korea, it is the existence of a grand vision of the future and their potential role in that future. The resources of both the government and the private sector are focused on common goals and a shared image of the future.
The Philippines is not lacking in vision. In fact, there seems to be a plethora of competing visions about the country's future. This reflects a lack of national consensus. Of course, an official long-term development plan exists, although it is not clear whether it is being supported by the present administration. In 1977, the Development Academy of the Philippines undertook a project called "Philippine Resources, Environment and the Future," which resulted in a book, Probing the Philippines Future. Today, this book, for whatever it is worth, has been largely forgotten by the new leaders of government. A similar interdisciplinary work entitled "The Philippines into the Twenty-first Century," under the leadership of a President of the University of the Philippines, was never published owing to lack of financial support. Recently, a big conference on an "Agenda for the Twenty-first Century" was convened by a private group. The conference degenerated into a bushfire conference and focused on the outstanding problems of the present: economic recovery, agrarian reform, delivery of justice, the role of the military, etc. The recommendations that emerged were all concerned with the immediate present. The image of a preferable or possible future for the Philippines was conspicuous by its absence. S&T was not discussed at all.
In the current Medium-term Development Plan (1987-1991), there is no apparent technology strategy. There is no reference to how the role of the Philippines is envisioned in the next century, when S&T will be the dominant world activity. Although there is a national S&T plan, this is not correlated with the planned activities of the other economic sectors. At most, there are suggestions that local S&T will be supportive of development activities but not the principal agent of growth.
In the private sector, the story is much the same. Industries, even some of the biggest ones, are not heavily involved in R&D activities. They are not motivated to innovate and they have no perception of their future competitiveness in the world of the future.
On the other hand, the S&T community has not produced anything spectacular to merit the attention of the government and the private sector.
In conclusion, the Philippine problématique is compounded by the lack of awareness of the value of S&T for the development process. Given this condition and the historical heritage of the Philippines, the country is trapped in a vicious circle of technological dependence and poverty. The country is besieged by political and economic problems and S&T has become buried in the turmoil of competing political and social issues.