House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on Wednesday urged world parliamentarians to engage the youth into science and technology to attain peace and address the growing need for innovation in the midst of fast-changing technology.
In a speech before the 139th International Parliamentary Union General Assembly at the Center for International Conference Geneve in Geneva, Switzerland, Arroyo said that in order for the world to attain peace and cope in the age of innovation and technology, focus must be set towards encouraging more youth in science and engineering courses.
She cited a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization benchmark which set the ideal 340 research and development-capable personnel per million population in order to sustain modernization into the future.
“To achieve that benchmark, parliaments, and parliamentarians can provide the budget to encourage more youth to pursue scientific and engineering studies,” Arroyo said.
Arroyo headed the IPU Philippine delegation composed of members of Senate and the House of Representatives composed of Senators Franklin Drilon, Panfilo Lacson, and Ralph Recto and Reps. Rodante Marcoleta of SAGIP party-list, Greg Gasataya of Bacolod City, Federico Sandoval of Malabon, Ron Salo of Kabayan party-list, Ma. Theresa Collantes of Batangas and Karlo Alexei Nograles of Davao City.
The IPU is a global organization of national parliamentarians from 178-member states. The IPU Assembly brings together noted parliamentarians from its member-states in a bid to promote and address democracy, equality, development, and peace in their own countries and at international level.
This year, the theme of the assembly was “Parliamentary Leadership in Promoting Peace and Development in the Age of Innovation and Technology.”
Arroyo pointed out that during her time as president in 2007, the Philippine Congress provided a US$90-million budget to a program called the Engineering Research and Development for Technology which was aimed at developing a critical mass of MS and Ph.D. graduates in engineering specifically through a highly-specialized academic research program. It is jointly implemented with seven Philippine universities in a consortium arrangement to better facilitate the production of future engineers needed for industrial growth.
She also acknowledged the support of Drilon and Recto who supported the said law.
“An international scientific cooperation with Silicon Valley, ERDT had four components: first scholarship aimed to produce critical mass if research-trained engineers with Ph.D. and Masters’ degrees. Second, research and development; third, infrastructure development, particularly academic facilities for engineering, and fourth faculty development,” Arroyo said.
She also cited the Joint Seismic Marine Undertaking carried out by the Philippines and Vietnam as a good example of promoting modernization and dialogue and peace.
“Indeed as parliamentarians, there is much that we can do to help ensure that the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) are fulfilled and that we harness innovation and technology to meet the Goals for peace and development,” she added.