What are the biggest issues facing the Philippines today? Is it Poverty? Corruption? Healthcare? No, according to some senators it is the lack of a space program.
The senate is now considering a bill to establish the Philippine Space Agency. Proponents of the Bill say it will enable space technology which will provide information and data that can solve some of the problems the country faces, like crop management, disaster relief and recovery, planning, transportation and communications.
Sounds good? Maybe, but the country already HAS satellites which may provide these functions. In 1996 a private firm, Mabuhay Satellite Corporation bought a second-hand satellite formerly owned by an Indonesian Company. Since then It has launched from China it’s own satellite – Agila 2 – developed in the US.
In the public sector, the Government developed two more satellite – this time developed by Philippinos. The Diwata – 2 microsatellite and Maya – 1 cube satellite were both launched last year.
The proponents of the bill are proposing spending php 1 Billion on this project. It will also raise a further php 10 Billion from the Betting industry, other Government agencies and grants and loans (meaning free money yet again from the International Community).
The main proponent of the Bill – Senator Paulo Benigno Aquino IV – has said that insufficient funding, and a lack of a central co-ordinating agency has hindered development of space technologies in the country. He could also have mentioned that it has been hindered by the hundreds of thousands of Pesos which have disappeared into the pockets of politicians and contractors, as is the norm for all Government projects and ventures.
The average Philippino, cannot afford food, or healthcare. They worry about their family being targeted by drug dealers or by Police or Troops suspecting them of drug-dealing, with the President’s approval.
They are not impressed by another device to put a piece of hardware into space which, yet again, will likely do little more than line the pockets of it’s proponents and their cronies.