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Pre-Spanish Period[edit]

Even before the colonization by the Spaniards in the Philippine islands, the natives of the
archipelago already had practices linked to science and technology. Filipinos were already aware of
the medicinal and therapeutic properties of plants and the methods of extracting medicine from
herbs. They already had an alphabet, number system, a weighing and measuring system and a
calendar. Filipinos were already engaged in farming, shipbuilding, mining and weaving. The Banaue
Rice Terraces are among the sophisticated products of engineering by pre-Spanish era Filipinos.[2]

Spanish Colonial Period[edit]


The colonization of the Philippines contributed to growth of science and technology in the
archipelago. The Spanish introduced formal education and founded scientific institution. During the
early years of Spanish rule in the Philippines. Parish schools were established where religion,
reading, writing, arithmetic and music was taught. Sanitation and more advanced methods of
agriculture was taught to the natives. Later the Spanish established colleges and universities in the
archipelago including the University of Santo Tomas.[2]
The study of medicine in the Philippines was given priority in the Spanish era, especially in the later
years. The Spanish also contributed to the field of engineering in the islands by constructing
government buildings, churches, roads, bridges and forts.[2] Biology is given focus. Contributors to
science in the archipelago during the 19th century were botanists, Fr. Ignacio Mercado., Dr. Trinidad
Pardo de Tavera and Dr. Leon Ma Guerrero, chemist Anaclento del Rosario, and medicine scholars
Dr. Manuel Guerrero, Dr, Jose Montes and Dr. Elrodario Mercado.[3]
The Galleon Trade have accounted in the Philippine colonial economy. Trade was given more focus
by the Spaniard colonial authorities due to the prospects of big profits. Agriculture and industrial
development on the other hand were relatively neglected.[3] The opening of the Suez Canal saw the
influx of European visitors to the Spanish colony and some Filipinos were able to study in Europe
who were probably influenced by the rapid development of scientific ideals brought by the Age of
Enlightenment.[3]

American Period and Post-Commonwealth era[edit]

Angel Alcala is a national scientist noted for his work in marine and aquatic biology.

The progress of science and technology in the Philippines continued under American rule of the
islands. On July 1, 1901 The Philippine Commission established the Bureau of Government
Laboratories which was placed under the Department of Interior. The Bureau replaced the
Laboratorio Municipal, which was established under the Spanish colonial era. The Bureau dealt with
the study of tropical diseases and laboratory projects. On October 26, 1905, the Bureau of
Government Laboratories was replaced by the Bureau of Science and on December 8, 1933, the
National Research Council of the Philippines was established.[2] The Bureau of Science became the
primary research center of the Philippines until World War II.[4]
Science during the American period was inclined towards agriculture, food processing, forestry,
medicine and pharmacy. Not much focus was given on the development of industrial technology due
to free trade policy with the United States which nurtured an economy geared towards agriculture
and trade.[4]
In 1946 the Bureau of Science was replaced by the Institute of Science. In a report by the US
Economic Survey to the Philippines in 1950, there is a lack of basic information which were
necessities to the country's industries, lack of support of experimental work and minimal budget for
scientific research and low salaries of scientists employed by the government. In 1958, during the
regime of President Carlos P. Garcia, the Philippine Congress passed the Science Act of 1958
which established the National Science Development Board.[4]

Marcos Era and Martial Law[edit]


During Ferdinand Marcos' presidency, the importance given to science grew. In the amended 1973
Philippine Constitution, Article XV, Section 9 (1), he declared that the "advancement of science and
technology shall have priority in the national development."[5] In his two terms of presidency and
during Martial Law, he enacted many laws promoting science and technology.
In his Second State of the Nation Address on January 23, 1967, he declared that science was
necessary for the development programs, and thus, directed the Department of Education to
revitalize the science courses in public high schools. The Department of Education, with the National
Science Development Board (NSDB), is organizing a project to provide selected high schools with
science teaching equipment over a four-year period.[6]
In his Third State of the Nation Address on January 22, 1968, he recognized that technology was the
leading factor in economic development, and channeled additional funds to support projects in
applied sciences and science education.[7]
In his Fourth State of the Nation Address on January 27, 1969, he gave a big part of the war
damage fund to private universities to encourage them to create courses in science and technology
and to research. He stated that he planned a project to have medical interns do a tour of duty in
provincial hospitals to arouse their social conscious and reduce the "brain drain." On April 6, 1968,
he proclaimed 35 hectares in Bicutan, Taguig, Rizal as the site of the Philippine Science Community.
The government also conducted seminars for public and private high school and college science
teachers, training programs and scholarships for graduate and undergraduate science scholars, and
workshops on fisheries and oceanography.[8]
In his Fifth State of the Nation Address on January 26, 1970, he emphasized that the upgrading of
science curricula and teaching equipment is crucial to the science development program. He added
the Philippine Coconut Research Institute to the NSDB to modernize the coconut industry. The
NSDB also established the Philippine Textile Research Institute. The Philippine Atomic Energy
Commission of the NSDB explored the uses of atomic energy for economic development. Marcos
assisted 107 institutions in undertaking nuclear energy work by sending scientists to study nuclear
science and technology abroad, and providing basic training to 482 scientists, doctors, engineers,
and technicians.[9]
In his Seventh State of the Nation Address on January 24, 1972, he spoke about his major
development projects in reforming sectors of education. Such projects included research and
development schools, technical institutes, science education centers, and agricultural colleges and
vocational high schools.[10]
In 1972, he created the National Grains Authority to provide for the development of the rice and corn
industry to fully harness it for the economy of the country. (Presidential Decree No. 4, s. 1972)[11] He
established the Philippine Council for Agricultural Research to support the progressive development
of agriculture, forestry, and fisheries for the nation. It was attached to the Department of Agriculture
and Natural Resources for administrative purposes.[12] He provided further support for the promotion
of scientific research and invention with Presidential Decree No. 49, s. 1972. This decree contains
details on the protection of intellectual property for the creator or publisher of the work.[13] He
established the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services
Administration (PAGASA) under the Department of National Defense to provide environmental
protection and to utilize scientific knowledge to ensure the safety of the people. (Presidential Decree
No. 78, s. 1972)[14]
In 1973, he created the Philippine National Oil Company to promote industrial and economic
development through effective and efficient use of energy sources. (Presidential Decree No. 334, s.
1973)[15]
In 1976, he enacted a law under Presidential Decree No. 1003-A, s. 1976 to establish the National
Academy of Science and Technology, which is composed of scientists with "innovative achievement
in the basic and applied sciences," to serve as a reservoir of scientific and technological expertise for
the country.[16]
In 1978, he created a Task Force on the formulation of a national action program on science and
technology to assess policies and programs of science and technology. (Executive Order No. 512, s.
1978)[17] In his Fourteenth State of the Nation Address on July 23, 1979, he said that the government
invested funds and time in organizations for scientific research, such as the NSDB, the Philippine
Council for Agricultural Research and Resources, the Plant Breeding Institute, the International Rice
Research Institute, the Bureau of Plant Industry, and the Bureau of Forest Products. While these
projects have had breakthroughs, the market machinery did not adapt and invest in this technology
due to the high-risk front-end costs.[18]
In 1979, he constituted the Health Sciences Center created by R.A. No. 5163 as an autonomous
member within the University of the Philippines System to improve the internal organization and
unity of leadership within its units. (Executive Order No. 519, s. 1979)[19]
In 1980, he created the National Committee on Geological Sciences to advise government and
private entities on matters concerning development in geological sciences. (Executive Order No.
625, s. 1980)[20]
In 1982, he reorganized the National Science Development Board and its agencies into a National
Science and Technology Authority to provide central direction and coordination of scientific and
technological research and development. (Executive Order No. 784, s. 1982)[21] He granted salary
increases to the people with teaching positions in the Philippine Science High School due to their
necessity in the advancement of national science. (Executive Order No. 810, s. 1982).[22] He enacted
a law on the completion of the National Agriculture and Life Sciences Research Complex at the
University of the Philippines at Los Baños. (Executive Order No. 840, s. 1982)[23]
In 1986, he established the Mindanao and Visayas campuses of the Philippine Science High School
to encourage careers in science and technology and to be more accessible to the talented students
in the Mindanao and Visayas areas. (Executive Order No. 1090, s. 1986)[24]

Fifth Republic[edit]
Filipina food technologist Maria Y. Orosa(1893–1945) is credited with inventing banana ketchup.[25][26]

In 1986, during Corazon Aquino's presidency, the National Science and Technology Authority was
replaced by the Department of Science and Technology, giving science and technology a
representation in the cabinet. Under the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan for the years
1987-1992, science and technology's role in economic recovery and sustained economic growth was
highlighted. During Corazon Aquino's State of the Nation Address in 1990, she said that science and
technology development shall be one of the top three priorities of the government towards an
economic recovery.[4]
On August 8, 1988, Corazon Aquino created the Presidential Task Force for Science and
Technology which came up with the first Science and Technology Master Plan or STMP. The goal of
STMP was for the Philippines to achieve newly industrialized country status by the year 2000.[4] The
Congress did not put much priority in handling bills related to science and technology. The Senate
Committee on Science and Technology was one of the committees that handles the least amount of
bills for deliberation.[4]
Former DOST Secretary Ceferin Follosco reported that the budget allocation for science and
technology was increased to 1.054 billion pesos in 1989 from the previous year's 464 million pesos.
However, due to the Asian financial crisis, budget allocation for the years 1990 and 1991 were
trimmed down to 920 and 854 million pesos respectively. Budget allocation were increased to 1.7
billion pesos in 1992.[4]
During her term, President Corazon Aquino encouraged scientists and inventors to bring the
Philippines to its former position as second to only Japan in the field of science and technology. One
of the goals of her administration was to achieve the status as being an industrialized country by
2000. She urged that the private research sector form a stronger bond between public research to
help jump-start the progress in the area of Philippine Research and Development.[27]
Ironically, it was during President Corazon Aquino’s term and the reorganization of Philippine
bureaucracy that Executive Order No.128 abolished R.A. No. 3859, also known as the “Philippine
Inventors Incentive Act.” This Philippine Inventors Commission was under the Science Development
board. It gave assistance to Filipino inventors through giving financial aid, patent application
assistance, legal assistance, and to help inventors market their products domestically and
abroad.[28] Despite the abolishment of the Philippine Inventors Commission, her administration gave
rise to new avenues for the government to aid the progress of Science and Technology in the
country.
R.A. 6655 or the Free Public Secondary Education Act of 1988 opened doors to free education up to
the secondary level, implemented in the education system together with this was the “Science for the
Masses Program” which aimed at scientific and technological literacy among Filipinos. The Aquino
administration recognized the importance of science and technology in the development of the
Philippines into a newly industrialized country. Funding for the science and technology sector was
tripled from 464 million in 1986 to 1.7 billion in 1992. The Science and Technology Master Plan was
formulated which aimed at the modernization of the production sector, upgrading research activities,
and development of infrastructure for science and technological purposes. A Research and
Development Plan was also formulated to examine and determine which areas of research needed
attention and must be given priority. The criteria for identifying the program to be pursued were,
development of local materials, probability of success, potential of product in the export market, and
the its strategic nature. The grants for the research and development programs was included in the
Omnibus Investment Law.[1]
There were noticeable improvements regarding science and technology as stated in President Fidel
Ramos' State of the Nation Address. In his third SONA, there was a significant increase in personnel
specializing in the science and technology field. At 1998, the Philippines was estimated to have
around 3,000 competent scientists and engineers. Adding to the increase of scientists would be the
result of the two newly built Philippine Science High Schools in Visayas and Mindanao which
promotes further development of young kids through advance S&T curriculum.[29] The government
provided 3,500 scholarships for students who were taking up professions related to S&T. Schools
were becoming more modernized and updated with the addition of high-tech equipment for student
improvement and teachers were getting training programs to benefit themselves and their students.
Health care services were promoted through local programs such as "Doctors to the Barrio
Program." The health care programs were innovative and effective as shown by the change in life
expectancy from 67.5 years in 1992 to 69.1 years in 1995.[30]
Priority for S&T personnel increased when Magna Carta for Science and Technology Personnel
(Republic Act No. 8439) was established. The award was published in order to give incentives and
rewards for people who have been influential in the field of S&T. In the sixth SONA, education was
one of the primary story-lines wherein programs such as National Program for Gifted Filipino
Children in Science and Technology and enactment of a law creating a nationwide system of high
schools specializing in the field of science and engineering.[31]
Fidel V. Ramos believes that science and technology was one of the means wherein the Philippines
could attain the status of new industrialized country (NIC). During his term, he was able to establish
programs that were significant to the field of S&T. In 1993, Science and Technology Agenda for
National Development (STAND) was established. Among its priorities were: (1) exporting winners
identified by the DTI; (2) domestic needs identified by the President's Council for Countryside
Development; (3) support industries and (4) coconut industry development. Congress, during his
term, was able to enact laws that were significant for the field. Among were: (1) Magna Carta for
Science and Technology Personnel (Republic Act No. 8439); (2) Science and Technology
Scholarship Law of 1994 (Republic Act No. 7687) and (3) Inventors and Inventions Incentives Act
(Republic Act No. 7459). The Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines (Republic Act No. 8293)
was enacted during Ramos' term. The law provides industrial property rights, copyrights and related
rights, and technology transfer arrangements.[32]
In President Joseph Estrada's term, two major legislations that he signed were Philippine Clean Air
Act of 1999 (Republic Act No. 8749[33]) which was designed to protect and preserve the environment
and ensure the sustainable development of its natural resources, and Electronic Commerce Act of
2000 (Republic Act No. 8792)[34] which outlaws computer hacking and provides opportunities for new
businesses emerging from the Internet-driven New Economy. Aside from these, in his first State of
the Nation Address, President Estrada launched a full-scale program based on cost-effective
irrigation technologies. He also announced that Dole-outs are out, which meant basic health care,
basic nutrition, and useful education for those who want, but cannot afford it. Lastly, he said that they
would speed up the program to establish one science high school in every province.[35] It was in his
second State of the Nation Address that President Estrada announced the passage of the Clean Air
Act, and the decision to pursue the 15-year modernization program of the Armed Forces of the
Philippines.[36] His last State of the Nation Address pushed for the advancement of industries and
schools into the Internet age, as well as the announcement of the passage of the e-Commerce
Act.[37]
In the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration, the science and technology sector of the Philippines
was dubbed as the "golden age" of science and technology by then secretary Estrella Albastro [3].
Numerous laws and projects that concerns both the environment and science to push technology as
a tool to increase the country's economic level. This is to help increase the productivity from
Science, Technology and Innovations (STI) and help benefit the poor people. Moreover, the term
"Filipinnovation" was the coined term used in helping the Philippines to be an innovation hub in
Asia.[4]
The STI was developed further by strengthening the schools and education system such as the
Philippine Science High School (PSHS), which focuses in science, technology and mathematics in
their curriculum. This helps schools produce get more involve in this sector. Private sectors were
also encouraged to participate in developing the schools through organizing events and
sponsorships. Future Filipino scientists and innovators can be produced through this system[4]
Helping the environment was one of the focus in developing technology in the Philippines. One of
the more known laws to be passed by her administration was the R.A. 9367 or the "Biofuels" act.
This act promotes the development and usage of biofuels throughout the country. This potentially
enables a cheaper alternative to gasoline as a medium in producing energy. Also, this benefits the
environment since it boasts a cleaner emission compared to regular fuel. Yet, setbacks such as lack
of raw materials is holding the full implementation of the laws since importing the necessary
materials are imported more.[5] On one had, drought-free rice was also highly encouraged to by used
during her term. This enables farmers to produce rice despite the environmental hazards that slows
or stops the production.[3]
In an effort to improve the efficiency of both land and water, the government imposes Republic Act
10601 which improves the Agriculture and Fisheries Sector through Mechanization (AFMech). RA
10601 covers research, development, and extension (RDE), promotion, distribution, supply,
assembling, manufacturing, regulation, use, operation, maintenance and project implementation of
agricultural and fisheries machinery and equipment (Section 4).[38]
In 2014, President Aquino conferred four new National Scientist for their contribution in the Scientific
field,[39] Academicians Gavino C. Trono, Angel C. Alcala, Ramon C. Barba, and Edgardo D. Gomez
was honored in their respective fields. Trono's contribution helped a lot of families in the coastal
populations through the extensives studies he made on seaweed species. On the other hand, Alcala
served as the pioneer scientist and advocate of coral reefs aside from his contribution in the fields of
systematics, secology and herpetology. Barba's contribution changes the seasonal supply of fresh
fruits to an all year round availability of mangoes through his studies on the induction of flowering of
mango and micropropagation of important crop species. Lastly, Gomez steered the national-scale
assessment of damage coral reefs which led a national conservation.