What’s the difference between a ‘calamity’ and a ‘disaster’?
“Y’ung calamity is y’ung mga bagyo, lindol, y’ung mga natural at man-made,” Senator Alan Peter Cayetano said, jokingly “quoting” Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Interim Secretary Renato Solidum whose appointment was being discussed by the Commission on Appointments (CA) on Wednesday.
“Pero ang disaster ay kung hindi susuportahan ng both Houses ang DOST sa mga gusto nilang gawin,” he added, eliciting laughter from the gallery.
The independent senator told the CA members that he was happy to see Solidum in a forum that did not discuss calamities, referring to the Secretary’s service as director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology from 2003 to 2022 before being appointed to his current position.
Cayetano, chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, took the opportunity to underscore DOST’s need for bigger funding on research and development (R&D).
“Minsan y’ung mga research sa ibang department proper, hindi talaga ginagamit. Kaya we don’t get the research that we want. But any of the modern and high-tech companies now, they spend so much on R&D,” he said.
“So to me, hindi lang ito manifestation of support sa isang career official who worked his way up, but also a plea na maybe in 2023 as we monitor how they are doing, in 2024 we can really support a bigger budget for the DOST,” he added.
Cayetano vouched for Solidum, a geologist and career official in the department with over 38 years of experience, as he officially takes the helm of DOST.
“I hope, Secretary, that under your leadership during your term in DOST, maging salt and light ang DOST sa gobyerno,” he said.