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Satellite Data to Boost Services and Productivity in the Philippines

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has advocated using satellite mapping data in all government offices to improve services and operations. The President proposed the idea at the inaugural meeting of the Philippine Space Council (PSC) at the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) in Quezon City. He also advised the PSC to make the most of the Philippines’ collaborations with international imagery and mapping agencies.

President Marcos Jr., who serves as chair of the PSC, emphasised that providing government agencies with access to satellite data could benefit agriculture, business, and the environment. Furthermore, he believes that mapping data could assist potential investors, such as carbon producers, in balancing their activity by providing them with the necessary information to develop a specific bio-diverse area in a particular location.

“In terms of green and bio assets, (mapping is important) to quantify our fisheries and agricultural activity. It refers to how much carbon you emit into the atmosphere. However, the first step will be to map,” he elaborated.

PhilSA and the Department of Science and Technology’s Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI) have collaborated to create the Space Data Dashboard, which includes an interactive Philippine map displaying data from various satellite projects. The dashboard is intended to display data from satellite images such as traffic monitoring, air quality, water quality, night lights, land cover, flood maps, landslides, and disaster incidence.

“We must ensure that the data we give [in] each department is in a form they can use,” President Marcos Jr. explained to the PSC. “We need to recognise the importance of satellite mapping, which could have multiple applications.” (As quoted by Undersecretary Cheloy Garafil, officer-in-charge of the Office of the Press Secretary.)

Under the current administration, the Philippines government hastened digital transformation in the country, particularly to improve public trust. Budget Secretary Amanah Pangandaman recently pitched the idea in Davao City during the year-end consultation session and fourth-quarter meeting of the Philippine Open Government Partnership (PH-OGP) Steering Committee.

She emphasised the importance of digitalisation efforts working in tandem with information dissemination and providing opportunities for public exchange to build trust in the government-citizen relationship. Furthermore, the two elements can raise public awareness about government policy, such as developing the 6th PH-OGP national action plan.

Public servants who act as a link between the government and the people must also foster public trust. Therefore, government employees should work with willingness and excellence to gain public support.

On December 27, the administration will implement the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Registration Act. The Act aims to regulate SIM registration and use by requiring all end-users to register their SIM cards with their respective telecommunications networks before activation.

It will help the Philippine National Police and other law enforcement agencies combat the rise of electronic communication-assisted criminal activities, such as mobile phishing, spam text messages, online scams, bank fraud, and identity theft.

The law will require accountability from all parties, including mobile users, telcos, the government, and the authorities. To promote security in the Philippines, the Act also assists the PNP in quickly locating offenders of crimes committed anonymously via electronic devices.

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