Philippines now has its own space agency

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PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has signed Republic Act (RA) 11363, which establishes the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA).

This new government office is tasked to serve as the "primary policy, planning, coordinating, implementing, and administrative entity of the Executive Branch of the government that will plan, develop, and promote the national space program in line with the Philippine Space Policy."

The Philippine Space Policy, under RA 11363, will focus on national security and development; hazard management and climate studies; space research and development; space industry capacity building; space education and awareness; and international cooperation for development of science and technology applications to ensure the country's sustained progress.

The PhilSA will be an attached agency of the Office of the President for purposes of policy and program coordination, to ensure alignment in national policies and priorities.

The agency will be chaired by a director general who will be appointed by the President subject to the confirmation by the Commission on Appointments,

The PhilSA head will also have the rank and compensation of a Cabinet Secretary.

The law provides that the PhilSA proper will be composed of the Office of the Director General, the Offices of the Deputy Director General, and various divisions that will be created as deemed necessary.

A 30-hectare land under the administration of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority within the Clark special economic zone in Pampanga and Tarlac will be allocated exclusively for the PhilSA office and its research facilities.

RA 11363 also mandates the creation of the Philippine Space Council (PSC), which will be the principal advisory body for the coordination and integration of policies, programs and resources affecting space science and technology application.

The council will be chaired by the President and vice chaired by Science and Technology Secretary.

Other members of the PSC are secretaries of National Defense, Finance, Foreign Affairs, Agriculture, Environment, Trade, and Information; respective chairpersons of Senate and House science and technology committees; and National Economic and Development Authority adviser.

Duterte signed the law on August 8, 2019. Palace released a copy of the law on Wednesday, August 14. (Ruth Abbey Gita/SunStar Philippines)


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