It’s a double celebration for the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) with the approval of the Balik Scientist Act and with the coming back of 37 scientists today this 2017. These come as the DOST conducts the 3rd Balik Scientist Program (BSP) Convention today, December 1, 2017 at Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila with the theme: “Balik Scientists: Partners in Harnessing Science for the People.”
The Balik-Scientist Program (BSP) is an initiative of DOST with the purpose of encouraging Filipino experts in other countries to return to the Philippines to aid in strengthening and moving the country’s S&T capabilities forward. Moreover, this program is the government’s effort to counteract the effects of brain drain to the country especially now that we lack human resources in research and development.
Academic institutions around the country hosted this year’s Balik Scientists where they were able to direct R&D, mentor students in doing research studies, and contribute in the body of knowledge on their expertise by conducting seminar/fora.
The 41 Balik Scientists will be honored today for their commitment to share their accomplishments to the Filipino people.
Becoming a Balik Scientist
To be a Balik Scientist, it is important that their expertise is aligned with DOST’s S&T priority areas and are willing to address a problem that is mutually acceptable to DOST and host institution. Host institutions, either public or private agency, are those that requested the assistance of government in solving their concerns, or those that will provide necessary resources and counterpart incentives for the Balik Scientist such as office space, accommodation and transportation.
Furthermore, a Balik Scientist must be a foreign-based science or technology expert who has Filipino descent, and he/she must have made an outstanding contribution to his/her field of specialization.
The following are the incentives enjoyed by a Balik Scientist depending on the length of engagement (short-term and long-term):
- daily allowance
- free roundtrip international airfare
- duty-free importation of personal effects
- no dollar importation of motor vehicle
- immigration clearance
- freight expenses
- grant-in-aid (GIA) for approved budget
Balik Scientist Act
The approval of the ‘Balik Scientist Act’, authored by Cong. Divina Grace Yu in the House of Representatives and Sen. Benigno “Bam” Aquino in the the Senate, on November 27, 2017 institutionalizes the Balik Scientist Program of DOST. The added benefits such as tax and duty exemptions to importation of professional equipment and materials and free medical and accident insurance in the duration of their engagement with DOST.
(More information on Balik Scientist Act: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/948003/balik-scientist-bill-bam-aquino-senate-17th-congress)
By: Raissa Jean Ancheta