CONG. JOHN MARVIN NIETO
Actor-turned-politician Yul Servo parlays his
star status into meaningful public service
BY ALFREDO G. GABOT
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JAR CONCENGCO
Congressman John Marvin Nieto, more popularly known for his screen name Yul Servo, was one of the “stars” (actors-turned-politicians) in Manila’s City Council for nine long years. After completing three terms in 2016, he hesitantly threw his hat in the congressional race in the city’s third district and surprised the pundits when he convincingly won the nod of the voters, many of them Filipino-Chinese. Since then, he has emerged as one of the leading men at the House of Representatives, hobnobbing with celebrities in that chamber like Reps. Vilma Santos-Recto, Lucy Torres Gomez, Sol Aragones, Monsour del Rosario, and Alfred Vargas.
With the many bills and resolutions he had authored, coauthored, sponsored, or co-sponsored as gleaned from the records of the lower chamber of the Philippine Congress, it can be said that Congressman Nieto has found his new calling.
PUSHING SCIENTIFIC BOUNDARIES
Two bills that he takes pride in having co-authored are centered on science and technology, believing that they are vital keys in the speedy growth and progress of the country. The first, House Bill No. 5792, seeks
to address the country’s lack of scientists by attracting back to the country Filipino scientists, experts, engineers, and inventors who had made their name in the United States and other countries under a “Balik Scientist’’ program by providing appropriate incentives and benefits like tax and duty exemptions,
grants in aid of research and development projects, relocation allowances, among others. The second bill, House Bill No. 4275, aims to catapult the Philippines into the space age and harness space science and technology through the creation of the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) akin to the National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA) of the United States of America. Owing to its importance, the first measure hurdled both houses of Congress with ease and the approved bill has, in fact, been signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte. The second bill was also approved overwhelmingly by the House and the Senate is ready for final approval.
It was gathered that the country has only 189 scientists per million people when the ideal ratio is 380 scientists per million. This explains why the country trails behind many countries like the US and South Korea, which have over 5,000 and 3,000 scientists per million, and Malaysia with 2,000 scientists per a population of one million.“I’m very happy and proud that my bill has become a law (Republic Act No. 11035) and, hopefully, with this, the country can catch up with our Asian neighbors. Malaking bagay ito para sa bansa,” Congressman Nieto points out.