Credit to Author: Tempo Desk| Date: Thu, 23 May 2019 16:20:08 +0000
THE proposed establishment of a clear Philippine Space Development and Utilization Policy and creation of the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA), the country’s version of United States National Aeronautics Space Agency (NASA), may find realization shortly.
The Senate last Monday unanimously approved the proposed “Philippine Space Act,” its version of the “Philippine Space Development Act” passed by the House of Representatives in December last year.
Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, who principally crafted HB 8541, in collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology (DoST), said the proposed PhilSA is now a “national imperative” because “it would help the country safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity at the same time that developing science and technology through a space program would also help boost patriotism and nationalism.”
PhilSA will be the central government agency in charge of issues and initiatives related to space science, engineering, and related fields. It will be attached to the DoST and absorb the functions of the Philippines Space Science Education Program of the department’s Science Education Institute. The new agency will primarily spearhead the program of space science and technology access and applications, space research including remote sensing and gathering of crucial data related to natural disasters, and respond to the country’s growing need for a secure and independent access to space.
As conceptualized PhilSA will be the primary policy, planning, coordinating, implementing and administrative body of the executive branch of government in developing and promoting a national space program in line with the Philippine Space Policy. It will prioritize programs on national security and development, hazard management, climate studies, space research and development, space industry and capacity building, space education and awareness, and international space cooperation.
Indeed, as Salceda points out, space technology now virtually touches everything. Space systems provide capabilities in communications, navigation, defense and security, environmental monitoring and disaster assessment.
PhilSA will be allocated 30 hectares of land within the Clark Special Economic Zone for its offices and research facilities. It may also establish such additional facilities elsewhere as necessary. It will receive P2 billion a year in the first five years to be sourced from the income of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation and the Bases Conversion and Development Authority, aside from a P1-billion initial operating fund from the national budget during its first year.