DOST appeals for the passage of space technology bill to raise annual budget.
'We hope that our good senators and congressmen pass the proposed bill on space technology next year,' Dr. Leah J. Buendia, assistant secretary for foreign assisted projects of the DOST, told the Aliw Media Group's Coffee Club on Thursday.
In 2016 the science department has earmarked P1 billion for space- technology research and development (R and D), in a bid to raise the country's stake in the growing space-technology industry.
According to Buendia, while the country's expenditures for R and D in various aspects of science, technology and innovation (STI) has increased by 80 percent to P15.92 billion in 2013, the proportion of the country's R and D to GDP stood at only 0.14 percent.
This is way below the 1-percent benchmark recommended by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and the global average of 2.04 percent, the DOST official said.
The Philippine expenditure for R and D is still behind compared with its neighbors in Southeast Asia. Vietnam, for instance, has 0.19-percent allocation, Thailand has 0.36 percent, Malaysia has 1.09 percent and Singapore has 2.0 percent of its GDP-budget allocation, she added. Buendia explained that the country's low ranking in the Global Innovation Index was pulled down by weaknesses in human capital and R and D, with a score of 22.7 out of 100, ranking only 95th from 128 countries.
The reason, she added, is the low public and private expenditures on education and R and D.
She said there is a need for a national law for space technology 'which would innovate every major sphere of our economy, such as commercial production, medicine, land use and marine ecology.'
According to Engr. Raul C. Sabularse, deputy executive director of the DOST's Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD), the government has invested around P800 million for the Philippine microsatellite program that led to the successful development and launch into orbit of Diwata 1 last year, and the eventual launch of Diwata 2 in 2018.
'This first microsatellite, designed and built by Filipinos with technological assistance from Japan, and deployed into orbit from the International Space Station on April 27, 2016, was the first not only for us, but even for the Japanese who realized that this downscaled satellite can be launched this way and served specific needs,' Sabularse said.
The downside, according to PCIEERD, is that Diwata 1 is orbiting only at a height of 400 kilometers from land and it would only last up to 2018, or roughly 20 months.
Early after its launch, the satellite shot images of Isabela province, the island of Luzon and parts of Northern Japan. It has captured images of the coastlines of Palawan, showing signs of siltation on certain parts of the province.
House Bill 3637 and Senate Bill 1211, filed in September last year, both aim to establish a Philippine space-development program, and the creation of a Philippine Space Agency.
The Senate bill was introduced by Sen. Paolo Benigno A. Aquino IV, while its House version was filed by Rep. Seth Frederick P. Jalosjos of the First District of Zamboanga del Norte and Rep. Erico Aristotle C. Aumentado of the Second District of Bohol. Sens. Loren B. Legarda and Vicente C. Sotto III have also filed their versions of space bills.
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|Publication:||Business Mirror (Makati City, Philippines)|
|Date:||Dec 14, 2017|
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