On April 22, scientists all over the globe made a mark on history as they marched to defend science recognizing its vital role in making informed decisions and as a catalyst for development, as policies were imposed to hamper these essential functions favoring politicians and big business interests, putting the public at a disadvantage. Sparked by Trump administration’s moves aimed to restrict scientific knowledge especially regarding climate change, what started as a solidarity mobilization for US scientists grew into a #GlobalScienceMarch, an unprecedented event where scientists flooded the streets in more than 600 cities in over 40 countries.
In the Philippines, scientists, environmental and advocacy groups together with grassroot organizations gathered at the March for Science, Environment, and the People which showcased how the struggle for the development of science and technology is intertwined with that of the environment and of the people: how science and technology can provide concrete solutions for the real issues faced by the Filipino people. As the backward and stunted state of Philippine S&T denies the people of its possible benefits. Filipinos marched for science-based and people-centered environmental policies; for a conducive environment for the development of S&T manpower, knowledge, and skills; and for the development of a science and technology geared towards national industrialization that will address domestic needs and will benefit the majority of the Filipino people.
The diversity of the organizations who joined the event, from S&T workers, ICT professionals, students, teachers to wellness advocates proved how various organizations bond for a common goal.
We marched and we will continue to do so. As part of the advocacy to foster the same spirit that moved the people to march for science, environment and the people, an alliance has been conceptualized to unite individuals, institutions and organizations in upholding science and technology that genuinely serve the interests of the people, especially the poor and marginalized.
The March for Science Alliance aims to unite the broadest range of scientists, environmentalists, and advocates to call for greater support to a science and technology towards national industrialization that will address domestic needs and will benefit the majority of the Filipino people while nurturing a healthful ecology through environmental protection and rehabilitation.
The March for Science Alliance believes that:
- Science and technology (S&T) has a vital role as a catalyst for national progress and development especially in a developing country where innovations in S&T can both provide immediate relief to the people as well as create long term solutions that address their issues at its roots;
- To be able to contribute to genuine national progress, S&T needs to be developed under a national industrialization program that is geared towards addressing domestic needs;
- Science and its use does not exist in a vacuum but is subject to various social, political and economic influences, especially from the elite and powerful. Thus, we are advocating for pro-people, patriotic mass-oriented science and technology;
- Policies should be based on science and indigenous knowledge systems taking into account the rights of the people.
To be able to carry out our mission, the alliance will work through:
- Conducting education campaign in various platforms to popularize the mission in and outside the schools, laboratories and workplaces;
- Holding actions and campaigns on critical national issues such as welfare of S&T workers, climate change, environmental protection, agrarian reform, pro-people ICT development and national industrialization;
- Mobilizing scientists, experts and advocates to provide education and services to communities and basic sectors;
- Sharing expertise and tools within the alliance;
- Carrying out activities upholding the mission, marking
- The Saturday that falls within earth week as an annual March for Science, Environment and the People event; and
- November 10 as World Science Day
- Expanding and strengthening linkages with local and international organizations who share the same mission, integrating various initiatives on promoting science for the people.