Philippine Space Agency? (NASA’s Filipino Counterpart)

Over in the Philippines, there is a bill proposing the establishment of a Space Program, and the agency that will handle it will be called the “Philippine Space Agency.”

I’ve read quite a few strong comments about this topic online. Since the Philippines is a third world developing country, some are saying that before venturing into space, the country should focus more on fixing it’s education system (among other issues).

The disdain for this policy is incredibly depressing:

Creating a space program will do the following things:

  • Generate jobs that will attract high-skill labor. Graduate students will be encouraged to keep their skills at home instead of making money in another country. High-skill labor will be attracted to the Philippines, creating an economic boost.
  • Create a genuine interest in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, mathematics); students will have new opportunities and be encouraged to study and work to achieve their new-found goals.
  • Boost the economic outlook. Aside from an influx in jobs, only a few other Asian countries have space programs. The Philippines has already come out of the global recession relatively on top, it is in the prime position to establish a foothold in a new industry.

While people may argue that a space program just wouldn’t fit in a Philippine federal budget, NASA’s budget is half-a-penny to every dollar on the US government budget.

Remember that during the Cold War, the US pumped excessive effort and resources into a space program – perhaps inefficiently. A smaller-scale, modern space program can be more efficient and probably less expensive. Others also argue that domestic problems need to be solved before looking towards progressive programs. If this was the policy for everything, nothing would ever be accomplished. I would argue that this is also one of the reasons politics is excessively corrupt – because of the hesitation behind progressive change. Fixing things like traffic requires city planners and civil engineers. So the argument is that instead of having these people work in a space program, they should fix EDSA? Right…



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