Technological leapfrogging: Key to solving poverty

by Rodito O. Corporal
Mansalaya NHS
Del Gallego, Camarines Sur

With our country’s innumerable resources, it is hard to understand why we are often mired in crisis. Poverty has been our problem since time immemorial, tormenting our ancestors from centuries past. Yet, in 2014, we still remain hard-pressed to find adequate solutions for our problem. If anything, our poverty rate is even worsening as our population increases.

Possibly, we are stuck in this problem because we fail to understand that poverty is not only driven by moral, political, or economic factors. It involves our inadequacies in science and technology, as well.

At present, our situation in the field of science and technology is very dismal. Filipino scientists receive little to no support from the government, which does not make it its priority to encourage scientific and technological development. We lack research facilities and funds that are required to make proper studies. Even worse, the local market does not have a strong demand for such innovations, which impels our scientists to seek greener pastures abroad.

Because of this situation, our nation has become reliant on technologies developed by foreign nations to harness our own resources. For example, even if we are rich in rice, abaca, bananas, and fish, we do not have many locally-developed technologies to process these into marketable products. Many of such technologies are expensive, causing a strain on the budget of local businessmen.

In one seminar I attended, I learned about a strategy called technological leapfrogging, which was proposed by Roger Posadas of the UP Diliman College of Science. Essentially, the strategy will select particular foreign high technologies and couple them with local research and design efforts. The process will help develop our local efforts by assimilating the knowledge that is in the foreign technologies. However, this technological leapfrogging will only be possible if our scientific, educational, economic, cultural, and political systems are supportive towards our growth in science and technology.

I believe that this strategy can greatly help us in advancing our capacities in science and technology. Eventually, it can aid us in liberating ourselves from our dependence on foreign technologies and start harnessing our own capabilities. If all sectors of society would be committed towards improving our situation, it will be possible for us to take advantage our country’s natural riches and use it to help the millions who are suffering.