Lawmakers file bills creating Philippines (PHL) Space Agency

philippines space agency

The Philippines is one step closer to having its own national space agency.

Filipino astrophysicist Dr. Rogel Mari Sese announced this week the filing of two bills in the Senate and Lower House for the establishment of a centralized Philippine Space Agency [Philippines (PHL) Space Agency].

“All the work that we have done in the past few years for the development of a national space program amounts to these two documents… House Bill 3637 and Senate Bill 1211 which both aim to legislate a Philippine Space Development and Utilization Policy and create a Philippine Space Agency,” Sese wrote in his Facebook account on Tuesday.

Space utilization and exploration

As the program leader of the National Space Development Program (NSDP) under the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD), Sese and his colleagues have been lobbying for the Philippines’ active participation in space exploration and utilization.

In an earlier interview with GMA News Online, he pointed out that much of the technology we use and take for granted came from space research.
He also warned that depending on foreign space technology is a risky proposition.

“As a developing country and emerging economy, it is important for the Philippines to ensure its access to space for sustainable economic growth,” Sese told GMA News Online.

A matter of national security, development

He stressed that a solid space policy would pave the way toward ensuring national security and development, particularly in the areas of disaster management and climate studies.

“Independent access to space is no longer a luxury but rather a necessity even for developing countries such as ours,” he underscored.

Sese’s team gained the support of Bohol Rep. Erico Aumentado and Zamboanga del Norte 1st District Rep. Seth Frederick Jalosjos, both of whom filed House Bill No. 3637.

Meanwhile, Senator Bam Aquino filed a separate bill in the Senate.

“They were the main ones [we’ve been working with]. But we also talk to other legislators to gain support for the bill,” Sese explained.

From weather imaging to telecommunications

The bills, known as the Philippine Space Act of 2016, seek the creation of the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA). This government agency would be tasked with providing for the country’s space technology-related needs, from weather imaging to telecommunications.

“The PhilSA would be responsible for developing space science technology policies, implementing research and education programs, and establishing industry linkages between private and public sector stakeholder,” the Senate bill’s explanatory note read.

“The PhilSA would be our country’s representation for international space agreements and arbitrations,” it underscored.

Positive initial response

While it is too early to tell how the bill will be received, Sese said that the response from the lawmakers he has spoken to were “positive.”

“So far the response among legislators was positive. Space science and technology can greatly contribute to our development as a nation. The various agencies in the government understand that,” Sese said.

“We hope that our legislators would also realize its importance and pass the bill soon,” he added. — TJD, GMA News



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