To infinity and beyond: Philippines one step closer to establishing own space agency

Photo: Pixabay.

The Philippines may get its own version of NASA after the House of Representatives passed a bill yesterday that proposes the creation of a national space agency.

With a unanimous vote that had 297 congresspersons giving their “yeses,” the Lower House approved on the third and final reading House Bill 8541 or the “Philippine Space Development Act.”

Authored by Representatives Erico Aristotle C. Aumentado and Seth Frederick P. Jalosjos, among others, the bill proposes the establishment of the Philippine Space Development and Utilization policy and the creation of the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA).

The bill’s authors believe that developing science and technology through a space program could boost patriotism and nationalism. The bill also states that the program would help the Philippines safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The PhilSA will act as the central government agency in charge of issues and activities related to space science, engineering, and other similar fields. GMA News reported that  PhilSA will be under the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and will have offices in the Clark Special Economic Zone, in Pampanga and Tarlac.

According to the bill, the Philippine Space Policy will prioritize projects on national security and development, hazard management and climate studies, space research and development, space industry and capacity building, space education and awareness, and international cooperation.

As exciting as this all is, space nerds will have to wait quite a bit more before it all becomes reality.

Rappler reported that the Senate’s version of the bill authored by Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV has passed the committee level. However,  the Senate will need to approve it on the third and final reading before a committee composed of members from both Houses can create a consolidated version of the bills that will then be submitted for the president’s approval.

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