The House committees on government reorganization and on science and technology are now jointly consolidating several proposals to create a Philippine space development and utilization policy and a Philippine Space Agency (PSA) in response to the growing need for a more secure and independent access to space.
The two committees recently approved the creation of a technical working group (TWG) to consolidate the following measures : House Bill No. 3637, authored by Reps. Erico Aristotle Aumentado (2nd District, Bohol) and Seth Frederick Jalosjos (1st District, Zamboanga del Norte); HB 4275 by Reps. John Marvin “Yul Servo” Nieto (3rd District, Manila) and Edward Vera-Perez Maceda (4th District, Manila); HB 4367 by Rep. Joey Salceda (2nd District, Albay); and HB 4623 by Rep. Maximo Rodriguez Jr. (2nd District, Cagayan de Oro City).
Under the bills, the Philippine Space Development and Utilization Policy will serve as the country’s primary strategic roadmap for space development and embodies the country’s central goal of becoming a space-capable and space-faring nation within the next decade.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Space Agency (PSA) will be the central government agency which will address all national issues and activities related to space science and technology applications.
The bills declare among others, it is the State policy: to safeguard the country’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, interest and the right to self-determination as mandated by Article II Section 7 of the Constitution; to ensure access to space and its environs as a sovereign right and stipulates the need to create a coherent and unified strategy for space development; and to ensure the country has official representation in the international space community for establishing cooperation agreements and linkages on space development.
Rep. Christopher “Toff” de Venecia (4th District, Pangasinan), a member of the committee on government reorganization, co-presided the joint committee meeting with Aumentado, chairman of the committee on science and technology. De Venecia said it is the first time such proposals were filed in Congress, which are very timely because the country has been lagging behind the U.S., Europe, and many other countries in the quest for space.
De Venecia also mentioned that promotion of science and technology is part of the 10-point economic agenda of the Duterte administration.
Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Undersecretary for Research and Development Rowena Cristina Guevarra told lawmakers that the creation of a PSA is much needed by the country to cope with ASEAN countries in space undertakings, and because the DOST has accumulated the technical know-how for space technology.
Guevarra cited the Philippines is among five countries in Southeast Asia without a space agency, along with Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Brunei.
“With the establishment of a PSA, the country will be well on our way to the 22nd century,” said Guevarra.