By Kristina Maralit | The Manila Times
(UPDATED) PRESIDENT-ELECT Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos is committed to fixing the gap in research and development in the fields of science and technology, engineering, and mathematics or STEM.
The incoming leader issued the statement over the weekend as he acknowledged that the Philippines is being left behind and has "a lot to catch up" in the STEM fields.
He vowed to start at the primary and secondary levels, saying he will task the Department of Education (DepEd), under the leadership of Vice President-elect Sara Duterte-Carpio, to address the matter.
"Unfortunately, our educational attainment when it comes to mathematics and the sciences, we do not do very well as compared to other countries. That's why one of those to be given focus by the new administration, especially the DepEd, is to give more stress to STEM," Marcos said in a video on his official Facebook page Saturday night.
He emphasized that the country must adapt to current developments since the Philippine economy is "very largely technical-based, based on science and technical innovations."
"We need the talent. That is one of the major areas that our DepEd is going to be looking at, and how to strengthen the instruction for our children and our students," he added.
Producing more Filipino scientists has been a mission of Marcos even when he was still a senator.
In 2016, he lamented how the Philippines "has only around 80 scientists per million of the population when other countries have some 4,000 per million."
To address the problem, he proposed creating science schools in major provinces and cities.
The Philippines has 15 science high schools.
Marcos has also been pushing for more support for science and technology teachers and professors and enabling them to study further abroad and become experts in their fields.