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JUNE 23, 2011

NR # 2444

Passage of Balik Scientist Program pushed

Filipino scientists and other professionals working in various technical fields overseas shall be given incentives when they return to the Philippines under a bill urging them to share their knowledge and expertise to fast track the countrys economy. Rep. Carlo Lopez (2nd District, Manila) authored House Bill 4557 which seeks to develop and provide adequate incentives to Filipino expatriates whose expertise and training can play a vital role in the industrialization efforts of the country. Lopez said these Filipino professionals abroad, besides taking the opportunity to harness their skills, are also achievers who set higher goals for themselves and have become more globally competitive in their respective fields of endeavor. With their expertise they have earned for themselves due recognition and the reputation of world-class Filipinos, Lopez said. These overseas professionals burning desire to come home coupled with their avid desire to contribute their share in the areas of transfer and exchange of technology will be for the development and progress of our country, Lopez added. Lopez said the bill to be known as the Act Providing For The Transfer Of Science And Technology And The Practice Of Professions In The Philippines By Overseas Filipino Professionals will be an important factor to a countrys growth and development. The people continue to be our most productive and competitive resource such as our scientists and other professionals, Lopez said. Lopez said the development plan adopted by the government envisions a newly industrialized economy that is globally competitive at the turn of the century. In view of this, we must however realize that economic growth and development of the country is unsustainable if we do not first improve the quality of life for every Filipino, Lopez said. It has been said that to achieve growth in the country at the expense of human development is to miss the point of economic development, Lopez said. Lopez said the government has a plan to invest heavily in human resource training and welfare in order for them to achieve improvement on a larger scale and be globally competitive.

Their potential and competence have been hastened by experience and actual practice in countries where they have access to more literature, advanced technological equipment and more rewarding opportunities for recognition, Lopez said. These overseas compatriots - our scientists, engineers, and other professionals through their exposure to foreign societies and modern technology are a big reservoir of new technology, capital, expertise and experience which can be readily tapped for our national development, Lopez said. The bill mandates the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Department of Foreign Affairs to develop and implement measures to ensure the attainment of the proposed act, to include the implementation of the Balik Scientist Program under Executive Order 130 as certified by the DOST. Under the bill, overseas Filipino professionals who lost their Filipino citizenship shall be registered with the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) upon recommendation of the concerned Professional Regulatory Board and shall be issued a certificate of registration and professional license without going through an examination. The applicant of a PRC license must be a Filipino as shown by his birth certificate or other documentation when he went overseas, at least 27 years old, with a valid professional license in the practice of his/her profession abroad, has practiced his/her profession abroad for at least five years and a person of good moral character the bill further provides. Moreover the bill states that the applicant shall file an application under oath stating his personal circumstances, his or her intention to practice in the Philippines, the office address that he or she will be using, his intention to abide by all regulations pertaining to the practice of his profession in the Philippines. (30) jy