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Environment

Development roadmap to focus on environment

Nov 18, 2021, 6:59 AM
Rose De La Cruz

Rose De La Cruz

Columnist

NEDA is pushing for innovations and data integration to be included in the 6-year Philippine Development Plan to be given to the next administration to ensure that the Philippines can adopt to the needs of the times, particularly on the urgency posed by climate change.

Innovations in agriculture and other fields as well as integrating the databases of government will be part of the innovations that the National Economic and Development Authority will highlight in the 6-year Philippine Development Plan to be handed to the next administration.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua told the 47th Philippine Business Conference & Expo participants that he directed the NEDA to “look into the next Philippine Development Plan revolving around the issue of climate change and everything we do in infrastructure, agriculture innovation, governance and protecting the Philippines.”

He said the country’s next six-year socioeconomic blueprint, the PDP, should focus on the environment.

He said one of the possible recommendations he can make in terms of crafting the PDP is to adopt the theme “saving our planet, saving our country.”

This is one of the ways that intergenerational fairness can be promoted in the Philippines. In a recent Senate hearing, Chua agreed with Sen. Pia Cayetano that achieving intergenerational equity is going to be very important moving forward.

This means that Neda must adapt to the times and modernize. ‘With this, the priorities of the oversight agency (or the innovation council) next year are on five key areas: the country’s economic recovery, smart infrastructure, innovation, regional equity, and climate change.

Innovation council

The NEDA will establish an office that will help implement a 2019 law designed to support research and fund enterprises geared towards developing “innovative solutions.”

“There is a national innovation strategy that we have prepared, and this will soon be presented to the national innovation council,” Chua said.

Chua said the implementation of the Philippine Innovation Act or Republic Act (RA) 11293 signed in April 2019 “coincided with the pandemic.”

“In NEDA, we are reorganizing ourselves. There will be a full staff for the innovation office under the NEDA.

We have met technically with several agencies, and we are just waiting for an opportunity for us to have a council meeting,” he said.

The national innovation council is chaired by President Rodrigo R. Duterte, with NEDA providing the vice-chair.

No funding for DTI’s innovation programs

The Department of Trade and Industry in September said that it has not received funding for its innovation programs that are entitled to receive P1 billion annually under RA 11293, reported the Business World.

The Philippines slipped one spot to 51st place out of 132 economies on an annual list that measures innovation performance, after the country’s information technology infrastructure scores sank.

The country’s performance in the Global Innovation Index 2021 had previously been improving significantly, hitting its highest rank so far last year after made the top 50.

‘Single truth’

Chua said he intends NEDA to “walk the talk” and establish its own data science team to arrive at a “single truth” needed for policy-making.

Chua said apart from addressing the current crisis, the NEDA is also employing “futures thinking” by looking beyond the pandemic.

Chua said these are just some of the innovations to support the efforts of the next administration. He said proposals for the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) will also include these innovations.

“I’m starting to build a data science team in [Neda] so that we can integrate all our databases, establish a single source of truth within the agency and I hope eventually all agencies will establish their own data science team,” Chua said.

“This will enable us to be more productive without working longer hours just searching or reconciling for instance data from different [sources] are crucial for policy-making. So, with this, NEDA would like to set the example to walk the talk when it comes to the government’s digital transformation effort,” he added.

Chua said that while the creation of a data science team within NEDA is part of the national digital transformation strategy, it is not just about technology which, in his opinion, is only 10 percent of the strategy.

He said part of these efforts rests on governance, such as the creation of the legal and technical frameworks as well as system structures. This accounts for 30 percent of the effort.

The bulk or 60 percent of the effort, Chua said, will require a change in perspective and greater appreciation for futures thinking.

APART from these, Chua said the NEDA also intends to focus on the building of smart cities not only to allow the country to achieve the long-term vision of Filipinos under AmBisyon Natin 2040 but also reduce the country’s carbon footprint.

Chua said smart cities and smart infrastructure means weaving together the principles of urban mobility and infrastructure together with urban development. This covers transportation, digital communication, planning, land use, and environmental conservation.

This means focusing on applications that help move people faster, especially when workers return to office, and students to school. This will reduce traffic or help Filipinos better travel through a combination of technology and mass transport.

“These will actually improve the lives of the people and…reduce our carbon footprint because a big part of our emissions really is spending hours on the road and as we recover from Covid-19, we’re going to see more traffic back to our lives,” Chua said.

Tags: #NEDA, #climatechange, #innovations, #PhilippineDevelopmentPlan, #economy


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