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Press Release - Tolentino leads budget defense of DOST

MANILA -- Senator Francis "Tol" Tolentino led on Friday the defense of the 2024 proposed budget of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) pegged at P26.73 billion.

The agency's Office of the Secretary got the biggest portion of the said budget with P6.85 billion.

During the defense at the Senate plenary, senators tackled the most pressing issues related to DOST such as the recent quake in the southern Philippines, Food Stamp program of the administration, rightsizing, and flood management, among others.

In connection with the 6.7 magnitude earthquake in the southern Philippines, Sen. Tol underscored that the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), a DOST attached agency, has a "quick response team" tending to the affected areas.

He likewise said that the agency is vital in monitoring aftershocks.

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Koko Pimentel lauded the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) for its valuable input in the administration's flagship project, the Food Stamp program.

"At least nakikita natin yung ano po sometimes kasi we look at the long list of attached agencies sa DOST nag tataka tayo ano ba mga outputs nito, ano ba mga practical value ng outputs," Pimental said.

For his part, Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva said that DOST must take a look at overlapping functions in DOST and other executive agencies.

Tolentino clarified that the DOST is mandated for research and development while the other agencies are for execution.

"Studies produced by the DOST family not being utilized by the other government agencies is not a problem of lack of scientific research and data coming from the DOST, but the seemingly lack of utilization of other government agencies," Sen. Tol noted.

He then recommended the "fusion of government outputs for a more cohesive and efficient bureaucracy."