THE SENATE on Tuesday approved Senate Bill No. 1355, or the Philippine Innovation Act, on third and final reading, helping establish innovation policy that proponents hope will drive the economic development and inclusive growth.
“There is no better timing for the passage of this Act than now. The recent economic and development agenda on national, regional and international contexts all have parallel focus on innovation,” said Sen. Sherwin T. Gatchalian, principal sponsor of the measure in his capacity as chairman of the Senate Economic Affairs committee, in a statement.
Mr. Gatchalian said the Ambisyon Natin 2040 socioeconomic plan, the current Philippine Development Plan, and the theme of the recent ASEAN Summit all zeroed in on innovation as a major component of sustainable economic growth.
“The vision that has inspired the passage of this Act is to finally see our country putting innovation at the center of our national development policies, and making innovation a major driver of economic development that will build the foundation of a more inclusive future. This should compel us to finally develop a culture of innovation in all levels and all areas of national development,” he said.
The Innovation Act will establish the National Innovation Council (NIC), an interagency body, chaired by the President and will seat 16 cabinet secretaries, as well as seven executive members from the business sector, the academe, and the scientific community.
The Council will facilitate the adoption of clear long-term innovation policies, improve the governance framework for innovation, and mandate key reform areas toward building an inclusive national innovation ecosystem.
To achieve the measure’s ambitious innovation agenda, the Council is mandated by Section 6 of the bill to formulate a National Innovation Agenda and Strategy Document (NIASD).
The NIASD will establish a 10-year plan detailing the country’s vision and long-term goals for innovation and provide a strategic roadmap for improving innovation governance through the creation of clear-cut synergies of innovation efforts across agencies.
The long term strategy developed through this measure will be operationalized through the establishment of the Innovation Fund created by Sec. 20 of the measure.
Administered by the NIC, the Innovation Fund will be used to finance P1 billion worth of innovation grants to strengthen entrepreneurship and provide support to enterprises engaged in developing innovative solutions benefiting the poorest of the poor.