Ladies and gentlemen, a good morning to you all!

As we celebrate our first National Innovation Day, we are optimistic that, by working together, we can surpass this unprecedented time of the COVID-19 pandemic and emerge from it much stronger and more prepared for the future.

Innovation is the best tool we have to address the challenges we face today. But to provide practical solutions for the daily problems we face, we need to collaborate and pool our collective resources to make things happen. On this first Innovation Day, we are signaling our intent to reinforce a national culture of innovation as well as of entrepreneurship. I came from an entrepreneurship advocacy, and innovation is key and critical to any entrepreneurial undertaking. And part of your entrepreneurial journey talks about continuous innovation, as you try to level up your value and contribution to the society. Moreover, we want to equate the idea of a “madiskarteng Pinoy” with the idea of a Filipino who is both innovative and creative.

This is in line with the 10-point Socioeconomic Agenda of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and is part of an ongoing process that the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has been working together with our partners in government and the private sector. One of our milestones in these collaborative efforts was when the Philippines climbed four notches higher in the 2020 Global Innovation Index (GII), ranking 50th out of 131 economies. The Philippines was also recognized as an “innovation achiever” for the second year in a row.

Another significant milestone and the primary reason we are here now is the passing of Republic Act (RA) No. 11293, or the Philippine Innovation Act. With this law in place, the Philippines can position innovation at the center of its development policies and we can now harness our innovation efforts to help our people, especially those who have been marginalized. Furthermore, we can enable our Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to be part of the domestic and global supply chain while catalyzing the growth of our industries and local economies. This is what we have been saying to our MSME constituents: Innovation is not limited and not a monopoly of large enterprises. In fact, for MSMEs to become large enterprises, innovation should be at the front and center of their business models.

But achieving the objectives of this law requires an all-of-government approach. An inter-agency council, chaired by the President, shall develop the national innovation strategy that provides a roadmap and the strategies for improving innovation governance to deepen and accelerate innovation efforts. What’s more, the law establishes an innovation fund to strengthen entrepreneurship and enterprises engaged in developing innovative solutions benefiting the poor and the marginalized. Innovation centers would also be established to support collaborative research and development, and extension initiatives among academic or educational institutions, RD&E centers, and businesses.

This enabling innovation policy—together with RA 1137, or the Innovative Startup Act, and RA 11032, or the Ease of Doing Business Act—would serve as the backbone in the various innovation programs that we are currently working on. More importantly, these will enable the country’s enterprises and industries to be more creative, efficient, resilient, and competitive.

On DTI’s part, we shall continue to implement our Inclusive Innovation Industrial Strategy (or i3S), with innovation at the core of this strategy. Through i3S, we will build our innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem, embrace Industry 4.0 technologies, and promote the development of more innovative MSMEs and startups, among others. We are also establishing Regional Inclusive Innovation Centers (or RIICs) in different parts of the country in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and other agencies. These will be a network of innovation agents that collaborate to produce and commercialize products and solutions to meet the needs of the market both in the respective regions and in the country as a whole. And si, the output of the academe and R&D sectors would be deemed to be relevant as they industry-driven.

DTI also has several key initiatives to contribute to building our innovation culture, like the Industry 4.0 Roadmap to help industries step up to the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Additionally, we are launching the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Roadmap this May to guide the adoption and utilization of AI technologies in agribusiness, manufacturing, and services industries.

Before we close, we welcome the launch of the World Bank Report, “The Innovation Imperative for Philippines” later on. Let us take the policy recommendations and insights of this report to help us in our efforts to promote and strengthen a nationwide culture of innovation.

As we foster the creativity, collaboration, and risk-taking mindset that are the basic strands of the innovation culture, we will empower an entire nation that is ready to produce value-added solutions to the world. This, in turn, would produce more innovative MSMEs that can help our country build back better towards a more hopeful post-pandemic future.

Thank you very much, and Happy Innovation Day! Mabuhay ang Pilipinas! ♦

Date of Release: 22 April 2021