Philippine Space Agency Established
August 8, 2019 – the Republic Act 11363 or Philippine Space Act was signed into law establishing the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA). It is intended to manage and operate the Philippine government’s space program which is currently decentralized and handled by various agencies of the Department of Science and Technology.
The Philippine space programs had faced two major challenges; the lack of funding and a centralized agency to manage the program. The latter has been established. Although it doesn’t aim to build own rockets such NASA and JAXA, it is included in the long-term goal.
Under the various government agencies of the Department of Science and Technology, it has aided over 5000 scholars, trained more than 1,000 space science experts, and established 25 facilities in various parts of the Philippines. Since 2010, it has spent over Php7.8 billion for space research and development.
One billion pesos (Php1b) was dedicated to the program from the current fiscal year’s appropriation. The question is, is it worth it?
Philippines has been behind its counterparts when it comes to space programs and research. So far, only three small satellites were built and sent to space, the Diwata-1, Diwata-2 and Maya-1.
It behooves to ask, with the current economy and other economic and social difficulties the ordinary citizens are facing now, how will this new Act benefit and alleviate their daily struggles? What’s the purpose of space research? For a developing country like the Philippines, can we afford to prioritize such endeavors?
decentralize(v): to move parts of a government, organization etc from a central place to several different smaller ones.
counterpart(n): someone or something that has that same job or purpose as someone or something else in a different place.
It behooves(/behoves) somebody to do something: someone should do something because it is right or necessary, or it will help them.