By Ronnel W. Domingo ,Philippine Daily Inquirer/Asia News Network
MANILA — The brain drain has become a bigger problem for the Philippines in the last 12 years, as the yearly exodus of people trained in science and technology (S&T) grew by about two and a half times from 1998 to 2009. According to a Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics (BLES) report, the number of S&T workers who opted for overseas jobs rose from 9,877 in 1998 to 24,502 in 2009. The numbers refer only to new hires or those leaving the country for jobs for the first time. The BLES cited data from a study titled “International Migration of Science and Technology Manpower-OFWs,” which the Department of Science and Technology’s Science Education Institute (SEI-DOST) published in 2011.
S&T Deployment Results showed that during the 12-year period, S&T deployment grew by an average of 11 percent yearly, peaking at a 59-percent increase in 2001 when 17,756 professionals left, compared with 11,186 the previous year. Based on the SEI-DOST study, S&T manpower includes physicists, chemists, mathematicians, statisticians, computing professionals, engineers, life science professionals, health professionals (except nurses), and nurses and midwives. The study found that nurses and midwives represented the biggest group with an average of 9,348 deployed yearly, or 60 percent of the total S&T average of 15,555. Engineers comprised the second-biggest group, averaging 4,117 yearly, or 26 percent of the total outflow of S&T manpower. Other health professionals including medical doctors accounted for the third-largest group with an average of 1,426 yearly, or 9.2 percent of the lot. “On the average, women accounted for about 60 percent of the annual [S&T] deployment,” the BLES report said. “The proportion of women has been rising over time — 50.3 percent in 1998 to 57.8 percent in 2009.”