Bicam report on proposed Philippine Space Act ratified by House

The House of Representatives has 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).

The country’s first micro-satellite, the Diwata-1, was co-developed by Filipino scientists in Japan under the PHL Micro-satellite program

Bohol representative Erico Aristotle Aumentado and Zamboanga del Norte representative Seth Frederick Jalosjos authored HB 8541, while Senators Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Loren Legarda, Vicente Sotto III and Sonny Angara authored SB 1983.

According to Aumentado and Jalosjos in their explanatory note, the creation of a national space policy will serve as the country’s primary strategic roadmap for space development which will embody the goal of the Philippines 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.

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.

It defines SSTAs as the scientific principles and their applications to space science, engineering, and other allied fields.

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 will be the primary agency of the government that will plan, develop, and promote the national space program in line with the Philippine Space Policy.

With this, the PhilSA shall work on the following:

  • Policy, planning and coordination;
  • Improved public access and resource-sharing;
  • Space education and capacity building;
  • Industry development; and
  • International cooperation.

The PhilSA will 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.

Among the tasks of the PSC shall be:

  • Recommend and approve the implementation of Philippine space policies in accordance with international conventions;
  • Ensure appropriate allocation of resources in support to the mandates of the PhilSA; and
  • Approve strategic directions and decisions for the implementation of the PhilSA.

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

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

To support the implementation of this measure, there shall be the Philippine Space Development Fund to be used exclusively for the PhilSA. — Molie Gonzales (House of Representatives)

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