LEGAZPI CITY – The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) on Tuesday conferred on Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda, the first ever HEROES Award in the country, in recognition for his “invaluable and untiring efforts in passing important science, technology, and innovation (STI) legislations.”
The award, which stands for House [of Representatives] Exponents of Responsive and Outstanding Engagement in Science, (HEROES) was personally conferred on Salceda by DOST Secretary Fortunato De La Peña in rites at the Marison Plaza Hotel, in this city. Among those present were PAGASA Administrator Vicente Malano and USECs Renato U. Solidum, Jr and Jun Dalida, and local officials.
The ceremony followed the inauguration of the new PAGASA (Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration) building at Washington Drive, Barangay Cruzada, which Salceda also helped fund.
Secretary De La Peña said DOST “is forever grateful” for Salceda’s significant legislative contributions on STI and their other programs and projects.
Salceda, who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, has been a staunch champion of the Science and Technology sector and continues to forward its agenda in Congress for national development.
Honored by the award accorded him, Salceda said the recognition “is a testament to the legislative work we diligently undertake.” He added: “Science legislation demands abundant study. I work very hard to make sure my colleagues and the public understand the importance and value of science-related policies and programs. I am honored by this award, because it recognizes the amount of work we do to promote science-based, data-driven policymaking,” he added.
Salceda principally authored the Philippine Space Agency Act (Republic Act 11363) and other related measures pending in Congress, among them the Charter of the Virology Institute of the Philippines (VIP), the creation of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Science for Change Program, the National Policy on Access to Philippine Genetic Resources, the Philippine Nuclear Regulation Commission Charter, the Charter of the Atomic Regulatory Commission, and the establishment of the Philippine Science High School branch in Daraga, Albay.
He also pushed research and development and higher-technology incentives under the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act, signed by President Duterte recently. He urged Congress to pass DOST-promoted measures such as the Science for Change Program or S4CP and the VIP charter.
Salceda, a noted economist-lawmaker, lamented Congress’s failure to speedily support important science and technology legislations that would have helped the country take off in the fields of research and disease control.
“It’s a shame that we were unable to provide funds for the Virology Institute in the 2022 budget because the Senate failed to approve the VIP’s charter, and the S4CP which was also approved in the Economic Development Cluster of the Cabinet. I am still optimistic these measures will be approved before Congress adjourns in June,” Salceda said.
“The VIP will help us fight future pandemics, and the S4CP is crucial to rapid and sustained economic growth. Science is always the future. All of our national ambitions depend on science-based governance,” Salceda stressed.