The outflow of Filipino science and technology workers has risen to 148 percent, initial results from a Department of Science and Technology (DOST) study said.
DOST-Science Education Institute (SEI) Officer in Charge and Deputy Director Dr. Leticia V. Catris said that based on the preliminary findings of the SEI study on the Migration of S&T workers, outbound S&T workers in the Philippines has increased from 9,877 in 1998 to 24,502 in 2009, amounting to an increase of about 148%.
The Philippines experienced the highest outflow from 2000 to 2001 when it increased from 11,186 to 17,756 or a difference of about 59 percent.
Catris said that the study also showed that from 1998 to 2009, more female S&T migrants left the country than males, which peaked between 2000 to 2005, at a ratio of 2:1.
“Consistently there were more female S&T migrants than male ones across the years, which was particularly pronounced in 2001, wherein almost three quarters of S&T workers who left the country to work abroad were women,” she said.
The number of S&T professionals getting out of the country was highest in 2009 at 24,502, followed by 2008 (24,330), 2007 (18,771) and 2001 (17,756).
S&T professionals getting out of the country were always on the rise for the entire period covered by the study except from 2001 to 2003 which saw a decrease of 31.06 percent as the economy improved over that period of time.
Occupation-wise, most of the S&T professionals leaving the country are nurses and midwives with the biggest percentage in 2001 at 53.23 percent or 9,452 individuals.
Engineers come in second with as much as 21.82 percent, or around 5,308 engineers, getting out of the country in 2008.
On third are health professionals like medical doctors, dentists, veterinarians, and pharmacists with as much as 6.28 percent of the OFWs in 2004 or around 838 health professionals.
Catris said the S&T OFW study shows a grim scenario of how the outflow of S&T professionals would affect the Research and Development sector of the Philippines.
“We need more of our S&T R&D professionals to be here in our country to provide the lifeline of our research and development agenda. Our country currently stands at 165 R&D personnel per million Filipinos which is way below the UNESCO recommendation of 380 needed for economic development. We are optimistic that our S&T professionals will feel the need of our countrymen for R&D outputs that could, in the end, change their lives,” she said.
Catris revealed that based on the 2010-2011 Global Competitiveness Report by the World Economic Forum, the Philippines ranked 96 out of 139 nations in terms of availability of scientists and engineers.
“Though it is laudable that our S&T professionals seem to be really sought after, it is a sad fact that we are losing them. We hope that we could find ways to make more of them stay in the country and use their talent here,” she said.