Group calls for review of Magna Carta for science,technology workers

ADVOCATES of science and technology called for a comprehesive review of the Magna Carta meant for science and technology workers to assess its shortcomings and address the problem of the brain drain in the country.

Dr. Giovanni Tapang, Chairperson of AGHAM (Advocates of Science and Technology for the People) and Vice-President of Kalikasan Partylist lamented that the Magna Carta meant for science and technology workers is only good in paper but not in its implementation.

“There are ambiguous provisions between the law and the implementing rules and regulations, resulting in various interpretations to the disadvantage of eligible scientists,” he said.

Dr. Tapang said provisions in the law state that funding shall be sourced from the General Appropriations Fund, while its implementing guidelines state that funding sources for these incentives shall be derived from the savings of the agency.

“It is a recurring problem not just in DOST-PAGASA but also in other government agencies that are elligible for Magna Carta benefits. This has to be addressed to break the exodus of scientists who play a crucial role in national development and the country’s progress,” he added.

He said PAGASA-DOST Scientists have long been waiting for their hazard and longevity pay since March of this year—benefits that are supposed to be given to eligible scientists and technologists under Republic Act No. 8439 or the Magna Carta for Scientists, Engineers, Researchers and other Science and Technology Personnel in Government.

The government passed the said in recognition of the contribution of science and technology professionals for the country’s development and progress. It is committed to promote and support science and technology through development of human resources by providing scholarships and popularization of science culture and incentives for pursuing careers in science and technology.

Tapang however claimed that since the enactment of the law in 1998, it did not abate the brain drain phenomenon that continues twelve years ago. In 1998, there are 9,877 science workers who went out of the country to seek for better opportunities abroad. After more than a decade, the figure has increased by 148% with 24,502 S&T professionals that include engineers and health workers.

In the case of PAGASA-DOST, a number of top weather forecasters have already shifted careers outside the government service. One of this is weather expert, Nathaniel “Ka Tany” Cruz, who is now the resident weather forecaster of a major television network, Tapang said.


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