The latest in a series of small but significant steps puts the Philippines much closer to making a giant leap into the space age.
National Space Development Program (NSDP) lead Dr. Rogel Mari Sese revealed that Senate Bill 1983, which aims to establish the country’s very own space agency, was successfully sponsored by Sen. Bam Aquino to the Senate Plenary Session. Sen. Loren Legarda and Sen. Tito Sotto co-authored the bill, which has been in the works for years.
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Unsurprisingly, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has been pushing for the passage of the bill as well.
According to DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Pena, establishing the Philippine Space Agency is one of the DOST’s top priorities. At a recent public event, Sec. de la Pena stated that the bill had already gained passage and approval from the House Committee on Science and Technology, the Appropriations committee, and the reorganization committee.
Sec. de la Pena emphasized the space agency’s crucial role in disaster prevention and management, as well as monitoring and improving the Philippines’ agricultural production.
The DOST also finalized a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Russia’s State Corporation for Space Activities (ROSCOSMOS) for the “peaceful use and exploration of outer space” last August 27, according to a statement from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). When signed, this “intergovernmental framework agreement” will allow the Philippines to send microsatellites, nanosatellites, and other equipment to outer space via Russian rockets.
In a 2016 interview with GMA News Online, Dr. Sese said:
“The usual question we get is, ‘Why do we need space? We have a whole lot of other problems, like poverty, economic growth, etc.’ Things like that. [But] when you’re in the field of space, you know what would be beneficial [to the country] and what won’t be. The end goal here is really to use space for national security and development. To improve the status of the country. It’s not just for conducting research.”
Cover photo: ESA/Andre Kuipers
Author: Mikael Angelo Francisco
Bitten by the science writing bug, Mikael has years of writing and editorial experience under his belt. As the editor-in-chief of FlipScience, Mikael has sworn to help make science more fun and interesting for geeky readers and casual audiences alike.