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House passes bill creating Philippine space agency

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By Dave Albarado

TAGBILARAN CITY – The country’s dream of becoming a player in space exploration is embodied in the bill creating the nation’s space agency which has been approved by the House.

In a statement on Tuesday from the office of Bohol’s second district, Rep. Erico Aristotle Aumentado said the bill creating the space agency was approved on third and final reading.

Aumentado, who chairs the House science and technology committee, said he and co-author Seth Frederick Jalosjos (Zamboanga del Norte, 1st District) had pushed for the creation of the Philippine Space Agency (Philsa) – to be under the Department of Science and Technology (DoST).

Aumentado said it is high time the Philippines upgraded its technology, to improve its communication network and to better predict the weather, among others.

He said that aside from information gathering, satellites can also be a peace and order tool. He said they can best be maximized in surveillance activities as they can easily track the movements of people with suspicious moves.

Applying the satellite to the Marawi City scenario, Aumentado said it can trace “with pinpoint accuracy” the location of the Maute terrorists agitating a rising rebellion in Muslim Mindanao.

The 297-member House voted unanimously for the bill. When created, Philsa will have its offices at the Clark Special Economic Zone, in Pampanga and Tarlac – tasked primarily with safeguarding the country/s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

It will also conduct space research and development, space industry and capacity building, space education and awareness, and international cooperation.

The Senate counterpart measure authored by Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV still has to go through third and final reading, consolidation by a bicameral committee. (Dave Albarado)

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