The Philippines will now have its own space agency.
This is after President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act 11363 or the Philippine Space Act on August 8 which will establish the Philippine Space Development and Utilization Policy which will create the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA).
The law provides that the space policy will focus on national security and development; hazard management and climate studies; space research and development; space industry capacity building; space education and awareness; and international cooperation.
An initial P1 billion in funding for the PhilSA will be taken from the current fiscal year’s appropriation of the Office of the President (OP). The amount for the subsequent operation and maintenance of the PhilSA will be included in the General Appropriations Act.
Additional funding for capital outlay amounting to P10 billion will come from the gross income of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) for five years after the effectivity of the law, with P2 billion to be released to PhilSA yearly.
PhilSA may also derive income on its specialized products, services, and royalties as well as accept funding from loans, contributions, grants, bequests, gifts, donations from foreign governments provided that such will be approved by the President upon the recommendation of the PhilSA director general.
The PhilSA will be an attached agency of the OP.
The new law also establishes the Philippine Space Council, which will serve as the principal advisory body for the coordination and integration of policies, programs and resources affecting space science and technology applications. It will be chaired by the President of the Philippines.
PhilSA’s office and its research facilities will be housed in at least 30 hectares of land under the administration of the BCDA within the Clark Special Economic Zone in Pampanga and Tarlac. Additional areas for research and launch sites will also be developed in the future.
Last June, the House of Representatives ratified the bicameral conference report harmonizing the provisions of House Bill No. 8541 and Senate Bill No. 1983, both seeking to establish the Philippine Space Development and Utilization Policy, or the Philippine Space Policy, as well as to create the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA).
Reps. Erico Aristotle Aumentado (2nd District, Bohol) and Seth Frederick Jalosjos (1st District, Zamboanga del Norte) authored HB 8541 while Senators Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Loren Legarda, Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Sen. Sonny Angara authored SB 1983.
According to Aumentado and Jalosjos in their explanatory note, 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,” said Aumentado.