While the Philippines has been involved in space technology for decades, its space program was decentralized and maintained by various agencies of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
Now the country is setting up its own space agency, following the footsteps of its neighbors Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and Indonesia.
Philippines’ House of Representatives approved the House Bill (HB) 8541 on Nov. 27, paving the way for the creation of the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA).
According to government media, the bill is set to provide a “Philippine Space Development and Utilization Policy (PSDUP)” which would “serve as the country’s primary strategic roadmap for space development and embody the country’s central goal of becoming a space-capable and space-faring nation in the next decade.”
The bill, which covers space science, engineering, scientific principles and “other allied fields,” still needs to be passed by the Senate and signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte.
If passed, PhilSA will become the main government agency for all issues related to “space science and technology application.”
At least 30 hectares will be allocated to the new PhilSA for an official site situated within the Clark Special Economic Zone in Pampanga and Tarlac.
Despite not having a dedicated space agency in the past, the country has managed to make some advances in space technology with help from other Asian countries.
In 1996, a private firm in the Philippines acquired the country’s first satellite, Agila-1, from Indonesia. Agila 2 a year later and was launched to space from China.
The Philippine government would later partner with Japanese Universities Tohoku and Hokkaido in 2016 to launch the first satellite designed by Filipinos, Diwata-1.
In June 2018, Filipino nanosatellite Maya-1 was launched to space via the Falcon 9 Full Thrust rocket at Cape Canaveral in Florida as part of the SpaceX CRS-15 Commercial Resupply Service mission.
Diwata-2, the second Filipino-made microsatellite under the Philippine Scientific Earth Observation Microsatellite (PHL-Microsat) program, was launched into space in October.