Duterte signs Balik Scientist Act to bolster research, dev’t

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a law institutionalizing the Balik Scientist Program which aims to support the participation of Filipino science, technology or innovation experts in the country’s research and development initiatives.

Known as the “Balik Scientist Act”, the law was signed by Duterte on June 15 as recognition that the Filipinos’ expertise in science and technology is “vital component” in the nation’s political, economic and social development programs.

Under the Balik Scientist Program, science and technology experts or professionals who are of Filipino descent shall be accorded with benefits and incentives provided they are certified by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

“The program shall aim to strengthen the scientific and technological human resources of the academic, public and private institutions, including locally registered enterprises in order to promote knowledge sharing and accelerate the flow of new technologies into the country,” stated in the law.

The new law provides that all Balik Scientists under the short, medium or long-term engagements shall be eligible for the general benefits, incentives and privileges.

Balik Scientists can enjoy round-trip airfare from foreign country of origin, free visa application, tax-free daily allowance and participation Grants-in-Aid (GIA) research and development projects of the DOST.

Under the long-term program, Balik Scientists and their spouses can also enjoy multiple entry immigration clearance; duty-free importation of personal and household effects, equipment and vehicles; and they need not to secure alien employment permits.

The Balik Scientist awardees “shall assume mentorship, leadership, professional or technical roles in the R&D leadership program of the DOST.” (PNA)