Philippines a step closer to having space agency

The Senate, voting 18-0, has approved on final reading Senate Bill 1983 which seeks to create the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA). A counterpart bill in the House of Representatives was approved December 2018.

The bill will be known as “Act Establishing the Philippine Space Development and Utilization Policy and Creating the Philippine Space Agency” or “Philippine Space Act” if signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Among the six Key Development Areas (KDA) for Space Science and Technology Applications (SSTA) which forms the Framework of the Space Policy is National Security and Development.

“The Philippines will focus on space applications that can preserve and enhance the country’s national security and promote development that is beneficial to all Filipinos,” says in the proposed law.

Under the bill, initial funding for the space program in the amount of P1 billion 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 (PAGCOR) and the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) for five years after the effectivity of the act, with P2 billion to be released to PhilSA yearly.

According to the bill, the PhilSA office and its research facilities will be housed in at least 30 hectare 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.