THE Philipine Innovation Act will be ready for implementation next year with the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) finalizing the law’s implementing rules and regulations (IRR), NEDA’s director-general said.

Speaking during the 2019 Data Analytics Summit on Thursday, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said the government will create a National Innovation Agenda Strategy Document (NIASD) to set the long-term goals, provide a road map and identify priority areas in innovation.

“NEDA is currently finalizing the IRR of the law so that the organizational set-up can be in place by next year,” Mr. Pernia said.

The law, also known as Republic Act (RA) 11293, was signed on April 17, and acknowledges science and technology as “essential for national development” and encourages research, innovation and invention, among others.

The IRR will be drafted by NEDA along with the Department of Science and Technology (DoST) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to “ensure the effective implementation” of the law.

Under the law, a National Innovation Council (NIC) will also be established to set innvation priorities and long-term strategy.

A “revolving” P1 billion from the national’s budget will be earmarked for the Innovation Fund to finance enterprises “developing innovative solutions.”

The council will be chaired by the President while the current NEDA director-general will act as a vice-chair.

Mr. Pernia said that the Philippines could take advantage of technology such as data analytics to offer solutions as well as create new goods and services.

“The IT-Business Process Outsourcing or BPO industry, for example, has contributed about 10% to GDP and (accounts for) 15% of formal employment,” he said.

He said data analytics… help many sectors including health care by providing better patient care. They can also supercharge agriculture by providing the basis for new farming methods and help businesses make data-driven decisions.

He also said that the recently-signed Philippine Innovative Start-up Act will help entrepreneurs in establishing technology-based start-ups.

However, Mr. Pernia said the Philippines “still has a long way to go” in terms of innovation and adopting new technology.

“Our infrastructure, IT (information technology) networks, and workforce need an upgrade to be able to operate efficiently within the realm of new technologies,” he said.

Meanwhile in a separate forum, Mr. Pernia reminded the government to continue promoting creativity and helping preserve Filipino culture to boost the “creative economy”.

In a 2014 study by a government think tak, creative industries accounted for 4.3% and 5.4% to gross domestic product in 2008 and 2009, respectively. — Beatrice M. Laforga