THE bicameral Commission on Appointments (CA) on Wednesday approved the ad interim appointments of Ivan John Uy as secretary of the Department of Information and Communications (DICT), Raphael Lotilla for the Department of Energy (DoE) and Renato Solidum Jr. for the Department of Science and Technology (DoST).
Uy, Lotilla and Solidum secured the Commission’s approval upon the favorable recommendation to the plenary of the Committees on Information and Communications Technology, Energy and Science and Technology headed by Rep. Manuel Sagarbarria, Sen. Lorna Regina “Loren” Legarda and Rep. Oscar Malapitan, respectively.
Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano manifested his full support to the ad interim appointment of DoST Secretary Solidum Jr, calling him a “career official who worked his way up” in the ranks of government service.
During Wednesday’s Commission of Appointments hybrid hearing, Cayetano invited both houses of Congress to back DoST’s research and development (R&D) programs and pleaded for a bigger budget for the department in the coming years.
“Any of the modern and high-tech companies now, they spend so much on R&D so… maybe in 2023 we monitor how they are doing, then in 2024 we can really support a bigger budget for the DoST,” Cayetano said.
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Sen. Cynthia Villar, reminded resource persons and members of the panel that the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is not a Philippine supported organization but an international one based in the Philippines.
“Actually, IRRI is being financed by foreign benefactors and the biggest one is Bill Gates and the instruction of Bill Gates is to support Africa. So, we cannot expect a lot from IRRI because it depends on who is financing the project,” Villar, chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Food and Agrarian Reform, said.
She said the rice agencies of the country are the Philippine Rice Research Institute attached to the Department of Agriculture and the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization.
Villar thanked Solidum for sending her reading materials on enhancing agriculture and for the productivity of crops, fishing, livestock, poultry and dairy. “I guess the Department of Science and Technology (DoST) is not only for technology but also for agriculture,” she added.
Meanwhile, the CA Committee on Transportation presided over by Rep. Lani Mercado-Revilla deferred action on the interim appointment of Jaime Bautista as secretary of the Department of Transportation (DoTr).
Bautista was asked to return next week to answer more questions from the members of the committee.