THE DEPARTMENT of Trade and Industry (DTI) said Tuesday that it has received no funding for its innovation programs, which are entitled to receive a P1-billion grant annually under Republic Act (RA) 11293.

The DTI said at a Senate hearing that the Philippine Innovation Act aims to improve innovation governance and adopt long-term goals. 

“When it comes to the innovation program, it really needs to be supported. Right now, we’re not really getting the support or the budget needed,” Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said during the hearing Tuesday.

“This is a great need that will help us support companies to innovate,” he added, saying that the department hopes to provide businesses with the latest equipment, “at least the integrated, functioning equipment where the mechanisms are connected to the computer.”

Mr. Lopez said that current projects for innovation rely on funds sourced elsewhere, since funding from the current national expenditure program went to training initiatives. “When you talk of the actual funding support for innovation that can help us elevate manufacturing companies, there really is no support.”

He was confident that if funding is properly provided, the department will be able to address the country’s weaknesses pointed out in the Global Innovation Index (GII).

Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian, vice-chairman of the Senate committee on economic affairs, noted that he has been pointing out the program’s lack of funds every year, yet no change has occurred.

The Philippines ranked 51st out of the 132 economies in the 2021 GII, down one spot from a year earlier. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan