Senate passes Philippines Space Act
Rainier Allan Ronda (The Philippine Star) - May 30, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is thankful that the Senate has passed on third and final reading the Philippine Space Act that will create a Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA).

Enrico Paringit, DOST Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development executive director, said that the law was key to pushing to build capacity and an altogether new industry in the country, that of aerospace and space technologies.

“As the bill moves into the bicameral conference committee, we are optimistic that our legislators will see the benefits that the Filipino people stand to gain once the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) is created and takes the lead in implementing the Philippine Space Development and Utilization Policy,” Paringit said.

“The government, particularly the DOST, has been laying the groundwork needed for a strong space science program through various human capacity building and technology researches that it has funded,” he added.

Science Secretary Fortunato dela Pena earlier gave assurance that the Philippines has made substantial progress in the field of space and aerospace technology with the Philippine Microsatellite Program that has successfully launched into space the Diwata 1 and 2 microsatellites and the Maya-1 cubesatellite.

The DOST chief said that the program was basically an investment to jumpstart space and satellite research and development in the country.

Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, principal author of the House version “Philippine Space Development Act” (HB 8541), said the proposal, crafted in collaboration with DOST, is a “national imperative” because it would help the country safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“Developing science and technology through a space program would also help boost patriotism and nationalism,” he said. 

The proposal seeks to create the PhilSA, the country’s version of United States National Aeronautics Space Agency.

PhilSA will absorb the functions of the Philippines Space Science Education Program of the DOST’s Science Education Institute.

Salceda said PhilSA will be the central government agency in charge of issues and activities related to space science, engineering and related fields and will be attached to the DOST.

In Dagupan City, reelected Pangasinan fourth district Rep. Christopher de Venecia, among the co-authors of a counterpart bill in the House, said Senate Bill 1983 will pave the way for Filipino space scientists, science researchers and astronomers to forge on in developing the field of astronomical science in the country. 

“It will also help us in global representations on space agreements and arbitrations,” he said. “This will…  also help in improving our disaster management by providing accurate information that allows early warning signals as well as quick and reliable communication during recovery and relief operations.” – With Eva Visperas

DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY PHILIPPINE SPACE AGENCY
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