MANILA -- Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato dela Pena said Tuesday businesses would also benefit once the country establishes its own Space Agency.

"The Philippines is gearing up for space industry," he said in a forum held at the Bonifacio Global City (BGC), Taguig City, adding that the DOST is currently waiting for the passage of the Philippine Space Development Act, which mandates the establishment of a Philippine Space Agency.

In an interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA), dela Peña explained that businesses can explore opportunities in new areas once the Philippines has its own Space Agency and focus more on space technology.

Aside from those who would explore new opportunities, he said the manufacturing sector and those who would make components for satellites, are among the enterprises that would benefit.

"They (businesses) can explore in different areas. The property development sector, for instance, would be there to develop the needed infrastructure. Once we have a satellite-making industry, the ones who do the components and facilities would be needed for their expertise," he said.

Dela Peña said the DOST is inviting the private sector to collaborate also in the research and development part.

Meanwhile, he clarified there is no assurance yet if the Space Agency will be handled by the DOST, but noted that the agency will always be part of the process and operations.

"I'm not sure because the House (of Representatives) says it will be under the DOST, and the Senate says it will be under the Office of the President. Whoever will manage that, we will support," he said, adding that DOST will be part of "the entire ecology" of the Space Agency.

"We could help in research and we could fund research. Our attached agencies like the MIRDC (Metals Industry Research and Development Center), and the ITDI (Industrial Technology Development Institute) can help," he said.

Dela Peña said he is hoping the bill would be passed even if there are only a few days left of the Congress sessions before it adjourns to give way for the mid-term polls.

Importance of space technology

The DOST chief has always emphasized that space technology is useful in many things, such as monitoring national security, as well as the state of agricultural production.

The use of space technology, he said, could send early warnings when the country is threatened by natural disasters. Thus, it could help the country to be more resilient.

The Philippines was able to produce two Filipino-made microsatellites -- the Diwata-1 and the Diwata-2.

These satellites capture satellite imagery that is used for research and remote sensing.

During the forum, Flaviana Hilario, deputy administrator for research and development of Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, also noted that satellite imagery is an invaluable source of information for operational forecasters. (PNA)