Senate OKs bill creating PH space agency

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 20 2019 08:05 PM

MANILA – The Senate has approved on third and final reading a bill that will establish the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA).

Sen. Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, who sponsored Senate Bill No. 1983 or the Act Establishing the Philippine Space Development and Utilization Policy and Creating the Philippine Space Agency, said the launching of a space program would give Filipinos a new perspective and valuable insights that could help solve some of the country’s biggest problems.

“Satellites can improve disaster management from providing accurate information that allows early warnings and predicting of disasters to reliable and quick communication during relief and recovery operations,” Aquino said in his sponsorship speech.

Aquino said the space agency could also enhance production and profitability of agribusinesses due to soil and weather monitoring and assessment, and help conserve and preserve the environment, improve urban planning, transportation and communication networks.

Aquino hopes the proposed legislation would propel the Philippines to be space-capable in the next decade.

“A solid space program can improve disaster management, enhance the lives of Filipino farmers, speed up our internet and telecommunications systems and help us build better, more livable cities,” Aquino said.

“Let us continue to dream big for our country and let us never tire of finding better solutions for our countrymen.”

Once the bill is enacted into law, a Philippine Space Development and Utilization Policy would be established to serve as the Philippines’ strategic roadmap for space development.

Under the bill, an initial P1 billion funding for the space program will be taken from the current fiscal year’s appropriation of the Office of the President.

The amount for the subsequent operation and maintenance of the PhilSA will be included in the General Appropriations Act.

Additional funding amounting to P10 billion will come from the gross income of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation and the Bases Conversion and Development Authority for five years after the effectivity of the act, with P2 billion to be released to PhilSA yearly.