by Rebecca Urbančík Garcia
I had the pleasure of attending an introductory town hall meeting to the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA), hosted by the Philippine Embassy at Kavarna U Zvonu of the Stone Bell House in Prague on 18 September 2022. Members of the Filipino community in Prague warmly welcomed Deputy Director General for Space Science and Technology, Gay Jane P. Perez and NASA-Earth Sciences Division Senior Scientist Josefino C. Comiso, Ph.D., expressing their interest and support of PhilSA’s programs and activities.
Dr. Perez was in Prague to attend the First Joint Council and Presidents’ Meeting of the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing. The two-day meeting took place at the Czech Technical University (CTU).
So what is PhilSA? The Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) is the central government agency addressing all national issues and activities related to space and technology applications. It was created under Republic Act. No. 11363 or the Philippine Space Act. PhilSA is an attached agency of the Office of the President, for policy and program coordination - ensuring alignment in national policies and priorities.
During the town hall meeting, Dr. Perez presented the structure and mission of PhilSA as well as the developments in the agency’s space science and technology applications. Some of the key development areas include:
National Security & Development and Hazard Management & Climate Studies through Space Data Mobilization - Using space technologies, PhilSA contributes to the surveillance, assessment, and monitoring of national security areas. PhilSA also monitors natural resources, air and water quality through integrated satellite-derived and ground-based data.
Space Research & Development and Space Industry & Capacity Building through the B3iS (Build, Build, Build in Space) Program - B3iS supports PhilSA’s mandate on space research and development and space industry capacity building, such as satellite development, missions, and the introduction of Non-Geostationary Satellite (NGS) Constellations Test Deployments to improve communications networks (internet services, etc.) This project in collaboration with NGS operators demonstrates significant advancements in satellites and their internet services, allowing communities in remote areas better access to the Internet - bridging the digital divide in the country.
Space Education & Awareness Program (SEAP) - PhilSA aims to further promote and enhance the understanding of space information infrastructures and their applications.
NASA-Earth Sciences Division Senior Scientist, Dr. Comiso, also shared his knowledge and experience on outer space with a particular focus on the results of his research on climate change, which is particularly useful in addressing environmental challenges.
It was a truly an interesting afternoon hearing about the Philippine Space Agency firsthand as well as their efforts to promote and sustain a robust Philippine space ecosystem. The efforts / work placed in this institution is a reaffirmation of the high standard and excellence of our Filipino countrymen — they make our country proud…
Photo courtesy of the Philippine Embassy
Thank you again to Chargé d’Affaires, Indhira C. Bañares, Ms. Glea Saunar and the Philippine Embassy team for the invitation. Special thanks as well to Dr. Perez and Dr. Comiso for their insight.