By JUNE S. BLANCO
THE Philippines has taken another giant step towards the realization of creating its own space agency.
This after the Lower House this week passed on third and final reading House Bill No. 8541 – the Philippine Space Development Act.
Science and Technology Committee Chair and main author Rep. Erico Aristotle Aumentado (Bohol 2nd District) and co-authors led by Rep. Seth Frederick Jalosjos (Zamboanga del Norte, 1st District) had pushed for the creation of the Philippine Space Agency (Philsa) – to be under the Department of Science and Technology (DoST).
Aumentado said it is high time that the Philippines upgrades its technology, to better communicate information to the people, and to better predict the weather, among others.
The solon said the agency would be under the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
He said on top of information gathering, satellites can also be a peace and order tool. He said they can best be maximized in surveillance activities as they can easily track the movements of people with suspicious moves.
Satellites can locate suspects with surgical accuracy, he said.
Applying the satellite to the Marawi City scenario, the solon said it can trace “with pinpoint accuracy” the location of the Maute terrorists agitating a rising rebellion in Muslim Mindanao.
The 297-strong Lower House had voted unanimously in favor of the bill. When created, Philsa will have its offices in the Clark Special Economic Zone, in Pampanga and Tarlac – tasked primarily with safeguarding the country/s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
It will also conduct space research and development, space industry and capacity building, space education and awareness, and international cooperation.
The Senate counterpart is authored by Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, and still has to go through third and final reading, consolidation by a bicameral committee composed of members of both Houses, for approval by the President.