President Benigno S. Aquino III looks at a lab worker during a visit at the production and training facilities of Alliance Mansols, Inc at the Laguna Technopark in Biñan City, Laguna during the visit to Alliance Mansols, Inc. last May 1. Government officials warned that there has been a “brain drain” the Advanced Science and Technology Institute as well as at the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) (MNS photo).

President Benigno S. Aquino III looks at a lab worker during a visit at the production and training facilities of Alliance Mansols, Inc at the Laguna Technopark in Biñan City, Laguna during the visit to Alliance Mansols, Inc. last May 1. Government officials warned that there has been a “brain drain” the Advanced Science and Technology Institute as well as at the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) (MNS photo).

MANILA (Mabuhay) – A lawmaker has filed a bill extending the services of scientists in government who are due for retirement for another five years.

Rep. Fernando V. Gonzalez (3rd District, Albay), author of House Bill 5155, said compulsorily retiring government scientists at the age of 65 would deprive the country and its citizenry of the knowledge, ideas, skills and even leadership abilities that the scientists had acquired over the years.

“It is a well-known fact that even at the age of 65, scientists are still at the peak of their mental capabilities. They are still very capable of working on scientific projects that they had been working on prior to their retirement,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez, vice-chairperson of the Committees on Bicol Recovery and Economic Development and Transportation, said the services of a government scientist may be extended for a maximum period of five years, provided that the research project is within the priority research and development programs of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and is identified as strategic to the national development.

Gonzalez said the request for extension of services should be submitted to the Civil Service Commission (CSC) for approval of at least three months prior to the date of the compulsory retirement of the scientist.

The bill seeks to amend Section 16 of Republic Act 8439, otherwise known as “The Magna Carta for Scientists, Engineers, Researchers and Other Science and Technology Personnel on Government.”

Under RA 8439, an employee retired under any existing law, who, in the judgment of the governing board or head of a research agency, possesses technical qualifications and the capability to undertake specific scientific research activities, may be rehired on contractual basis without refunding the unexpired portion of the gratuity and accumulated leave benefits received by him from the government.

The law provides further that a retiree may be rehired if no qualified science and technology expert is available. (MNS)