MANILA -- A measure seeking the creation of a Philippine Space Agency, which would respond to the growing need for a more secure and independent access to space, went a step closer to becoming a law as it hurdled second reading at the House of Representatives.

During Tuesday's plenary session, the chamber approved via voice vote House Bill No. 8541, otherwise known as the Philippine Space Development Act.

Under the bill, the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) shall be created as the central government's agency that will address all national issues and activities related to space science and technology applications.

The bill also provides for a Philippine Space Development and Utilization Policy (PSDUP) that shall 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 PhilSA, attached to the Department of Science and Technology, shall be the primary policy, planning, coordinating, implementing, and administrative entity of the national government that shall plan, develop and promote the national space program in line with the PSDUP.

The bill provides that a land area equivalent to at least 30 hectares out of the area of lands, which are under the administration of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) within the Clark Special Economic Zone in Pampanga and Tarlac, shall be allocated as the official site of PhilSA. (PNA)