DOST chief confident Senate will back creation of PHL Space Agency

Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato de la Peña expressed confidence that the Senate would support the passage of a bill creating a space agency in the country.

Among the the priority measures the DOST pushes for is the creation of the Philippine Space Agency, which, according to de la Peña, is crucial to help communities to become more resilient.

Space technology, he said, can give early warnings when threatened by natural disasters, and could also monitor the status of the country’s agricultural production.

Speaking in front of students over the weekend, de la Peña said he is “confident (that) the Senate will be very cooperative (on this).”

“We have already passed or gained the approval of the House Committee on Science and Technology, the Appropriations committee, and the reorganization committee,” he said, while he shared before the audience when his department faced Congress to discuss the bill.

Meanwhile, de la Peña said the DOST is also lobbying for the creation of a Philippine Nuclear Regulation Commission.

In a previous interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA), he explained that the Nuclear Regulation bill or the “Comprehensive Nuclear Regulation Act,” is among the DOST’s priorities because nuclear regulation and nuclear research and development (R&D) must be separated, since it is the practice worldwide.

“A Nuclear Agency is necessary in countries that are members of the International Atomic Energy Agency. The other countries have the (Nuclear) agency. Regulatory body should be separate,” he told the students.

The bill also seeks the creation of a unified regulatory body for all activities involving sources of ionizing radiation.

Based on the DOST-Philippine Nuclear Research Institute’s (PNRI) website, its existing regulatory and promotional functions are “potentially conflicted and not in agreement with international nuclear best practices.”