THE PHILIPPINES slipped one spot to 51st place out of 132 economies on an annual list that measures innovation performance after the country’s information technology (IT) infrastructure scores sank.

The country’s performance in the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2021 had previously been improving drastically.

The index, which is prepared by Cornell University, INSEAD, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), showed the Philippines reached its highest rank so far last year after it broke into the top 50. In 2019, the Philippines jumped 19 spots to 54th.

Philippines places 51<sup>st<sup> out of 132 economies in global innovation ranking

The index measures seven innovation pillars, in which the Philippines dropped 23 spots to 86 in the infrastructure category this year, after losing points in information and communications technology access and use, along with government online service and e-participation.

The Philippines improved its institutions ranking by one spot at 90th and improved under human capital and research (80th) along with knowledge and technology outputs (24th). The country retained its market sophistication rank at 86th.

However, its business sophistication (33rd) and creative outputs (65th) rankings also slipped this year.

Among the sub-pillars, the Philippines was strong in trade, diversification and market scale as well as both knowledge diffusion and absorption, which are measured in high-tech and ICT services exports and imports. The country’s lowest sub-pillar rankings include regulatory environment, general infrastructure, credit, and investment.

Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña at a briefing on Tuesday said that he is hoping for the passage of the Science for Change Program (S4CP) bill, which backs research and development, to help improve the country’s ranking.

“We need to have policies to strengthen the pillars that we are weak in, namely investments. No matter how efficient we are in transforming our limited resources to Knowledge and Technology Outputs, there are limits if we still need more inputs,” he said.

According to the report, the Philippines is one of several middle-income economies that are “changing the innovation landscape,” naming the country an innovation achiever for the third straight year.

“Although it’s one position back, the high-level news we sent regards to the Philippines is extremely positive. Let’s make sure it’s not minus 5 or 10 slots next year,” WIPO Economics and Statistics Head Sacha Wunsch-Vincent said.

The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) in a statement said a multi-sectoral task force should address the country’s innovation weak spots.

“We might not only reverse our GII ranking but also push the country further into an innovation frontier,” IPOPHL Director-General Rowel S. Barba said. — Jenina P. Ibañez with inputs from Brontë H. Lacsamana