By JUNE S. BLANCO
THE Congress Bicameral Conference Committee has approved the Balik Scientist Act – the measure designed to attract Filipino scientists now working abroad to return home.
Rep. Erico Aristotle Aumentado (Bohol, 2nd District) who chairs the House Committee on Science and Technology says the move aims to invite home scientists, engineers and innovators either for short term stays to lead researches and experiments, or to come home for good for the same purpose.
Aumentado expressed gratitude to Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino, his counterpart in the Senate, for pushing the same legislation “to bring back Filipino scientists, engineers, and technology entrepreneurs to work in various fields, including heath, food and agriculture, information and communications technology (ICT), and even alternative energy.”
The act institutionalizes the program first established in 1975. Aumentado said his move came after observing that the program “has been a tremendous success in accelerating the flow of strategically important strategies that are vital to national development and progress.
The solon said among others, the scientist will be given free round trip or one way air fare from his country of origin, reimbursement of expenses for excess baggage allowance, tax-exempt daily allowance, exemption from the licensing permit from the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), tax and duties exemption for donated equipment.
Those staying for good will also have relocation allowance, exemption from tax of his monthly allowance, housing arrangements.