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The Philippines Turns Over All Space S&T Assets to Fortify Space Agency

True innovation needs focused attention and doing so produces greater results in the long run. That’s what the Philippines is doing with its space agency – transferring needed assets to guarantee its eventual success. The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) have officially signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) on the transition of Space Science and Technology Assets (SSTA) from DOST to PhilSA.

While PhilSA will take the lead in the expansion of space technology, the two departments will still work with one another in advancing innovation. Thus, both agencies will continue to collaborate and work together to facilitate the smooth joint operation of various tech-oriented programmes. Some of the key ones are:

  • the Philippine Earth Data Resource Observation (PEDRO) Center
  • Remote Sensing and Data Science or DATOS
  • Synthetic Aperture Radar with Automatic Identification System SARwAIS Project
  • and the Ground Receiving, Archiving, Science Product Development and Distribution or GRASPED Project

To note, these projects are being maintained or implemented by the DOST Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI). Said joint operation means both agencies will have access to the process, functions, and systems of the mentioned services and projects; and is expected to effectively facilitate the eventual transfer/turnover of these projects and services to PhilSA.

Today, we leave all these infrastructures, all these capabilities in the hands of the Philippine Space Agency, confident that they will further cultivate it as we’ve intended. However, expect the DOST to continue working with PhilSA and other government agencies as we continue to collaborate with them on space activities and through cooperative use of our existing science infrastructures such as our high-performance computing facility and our national research and education network.

– Fortunato de la Peña, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology

 DOST-ASTI Director Franz de Leon affirmed that even before PhilSA came into fruition, his agency had its place in space. Thus, DOST will always be working hand-in-hand with Philippine Space Agency by providing relevant science and technology innovation in space R&D.

Space technology has a great potential to hasten the digital transformation of a country. Satellite technology, for instance, can advance online education like no other. As it is not limited to the constraints of ground access, space-provided internet can introduce connectivity to remote places that would have been impossible to bridge. An example is how VSATs were deployed by Manila to help typhoon-torn remote areas in Mindanao in the aftermath of the Super Typhoon Rai, estimated as one of the strongest in modern times. That certainly hastened the recovery for these far-flung areas.

By providing internet access, consumers can avail of online sales and bring more products to their immediate use. Space technology also develops space-adjacent sectors such as the semiconductor and electronics industries.

Space technology could provide the answer to the Philippine infrastructure challenge. As an archipelago of over 7,000 islands, providing connectivity is a huge endeavour, if not a nearly impossible task. However, space tech should provide the means to bridge that gap.

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