Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law Republic Act 11363 or the Philippine Space Act, which enables the Philippines to establish its own national space agency.
As reported, the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) is created, under the Act, to be the country’s official representation in the international space community for establishing cooperation agreements and linkages on space development.
The Philippine Space Agency
PhilSA will be an attached agency under the Office of the President and will have an initial funding worth Php 1 billion (US$ 19.2 million).
The copy of the newly signed law states that a land area equivalent to at least 30 hectares, under the administration of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), shall be allocated exclusively for the PhilSA office and research facilities.
This will be within the Clark Special Economic Zone in Pampanga and Tarlac.
The Agency is mandated by law to plan, develop and promote the national space program in line with the Philippine Space Policy.
This will serve as the country’s primary strategic roadmap for space development. It will represent the country’s central goal of becoming a space-capable and space-faring nation within the next decade.
Director General to head the Agency
The President will be appointing a Director General to head the Agency.
The position shall have the rank and compensation of a Cabinet Secretary and shall be subject to confirmation by the Commission on Appointments.
The Director General is also tasked to administer the Philippine Development Fund.
The fund will be sourced from the following:
- Php 10 billion (US$ 191.7 million) taken from the national government’s share in the gross income of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) and the BCDA; an amount of Php 2 billion (US$ 38.3 million) per year shall be released to PhilSA.
- Income from specialised products, services and royalties produced by PhilSA
- Loans, contributions, grants, bequests, gifts, donations, whether from local or foreign sources
Meanwhile, the initial funding worth Php 1 billion (US$ 19.2 million) will be taken from the current fiscal year’s appropriation of the Office of the President.
Thereafter, the amount needed for the appropriation and maintenance of PhilSA shall be included in the national budget.
The Director General will be assisted by three Deputy Director Generals, who will be appointed by the President upon recommendation of the Director General.
The Director General or Deputy Director General shall also be a citizen and resident of the Philippines, of good moral character, of proven integrity, with an advanced degree in space science, astronomy, physics, engineering or related fields of study.
They must have at least five years of competence and expertise in any of the following:
- Space science
- Aerospace engineering
- Space systems
- Remote sensing space industry
- Human capital development
A Philippine Space Council will also be created to be the principal advisory body for the coordination and integration of policies, programs, and resources affecting space and technology applications and will be chaired by the President.
Within 90 days from the effectivity of the Act, the PhilSA, in coordination with the Department of Budget and Management, Civil Service Commission and other relevant government agencies shall promulgate the rules and regulations for the implementation of the Act.