Bill readies launch of Philippine space program

THE House of Representatives has ratified the bicameral conference report on the establishment of a Philippine Space Development and Utilization Policy, or the Philippine Space Policy, as well as the creation of the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA).

The report harmonized the provisions of House Bill No. 8541 and Senate Bill No. 1983.

According to the authors, Bohol Rep. Erico Aumentado,  and Zamboanga del Norte Rep. Seth Jalosjos, the creation of a national space policy shall serve as the Philippines’ primary strategic roadmap for space development which will embody the goal of the country to become a space-capable and space-faring nation

“A national space program aimed at changing the Philippines into a space-faring nation is worthwhile and truly beneficial for the country, serving the best interest of the Filipino people and the rest of mankind,” Aumentado said.

The bill provides that the Philippine Space Policy shall focus on areas of Space Science and Technology Applications (SSTAs) that would address national issues, promote the efficient use of space assets and resources, establish capacity-building measures for human resource development, strengthen national defense, and enhance international cooperation.

The bill provides for the creation of the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) which shall serve as the central government agency to address all national issues and activities related to SSTAs.

It shall be the primary policy, planning, coordinating, implementing and administrative entity of the Executive Branch of the government that will plan, develop and promote the national space program in line with the Philippine Space Policy.

The PhilSA shall be an attached agency of the Office of the President for purposes of policy and program coordination to ensure alignment in national policies and priorities.

Likewise, the Philippine Space Council (PSC) shall also be established as the principal advisory body for the coordination and integration of policies, programs and resources affecting SSTAs. It shall be chaired by the President of the Philippines.

Meanwhile, to consolidate the functions of the PhilSA, the Philippine Space Science Education Program of the Science Education Institute shall be transferred from the Department of Science and Technology-Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI).

Funds, assets, transactions and personnel of affected agencies, among others, shall be transmitted within a specified period to ensure efficient transfer to the PhilSA.