NOTE: THIS STORY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE BOHOL CHRONICLE’S SUNDAY PRINT EDITION.
REP. Erico Aristotle Aumentado has sought a P1.5-billion budget for the operationalization of the Philippine Space Agency (PhiSA).
Aumentado, who chairs the House Committee on Science and Technology, said the PhiSA law was passed last year, and its budget will finally establish its physical office initially identified to be in the Clark Freeport and Special Economic Zone.
He said once the national office is up and running, satellite offices all over the country will also be created.
The solon admits that the Philippines will remain a spectator in the space race. PhiSA just wants to send a satellite into orbit to better communications signals and to have an “eye in the sky”.
Such satellite, he explained, will provide hairline accuracy for peace and order enforcement, national security, climate change monitoring and hazard management, weather forecasting, on top of improved communications.
The Philippines, even if located in the Pacific Ring of Fire, remains to be an agricultural country. This means, Aumentado said, the data that such satellite can beam will go a long way towards preparedness for any eventuality in cases of calamities.
At the same time, he said, it can assist in surveillance and even actual operations during events of crime or threats to security.
2 OTHER BILLS
Meanwhile, two Aumentado bills also passed the third reading. Being local bills, these will just be adopted by the corresponding Senate committees – for approval in the plenary.
These are the Ubay Agri-Tourism bill adopted by the House Committee on Tourism, and the establishment of a satellite of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in Talibon town.
In his explanatory note, Aumentado had said the bill seeks the declaration of Ubay as the “Farm Tourism Destination Capital of Bohol.”
The declaration is expected to bring in tourists to visit Ubay’s points of interest, destinations and attractions.
These include the Ubay Stock Farm (USF), the largest and oldest government livestock facility in the country. The Department of Agriculture (DA) has accredited the USF as one of the livestock technology training facilities in the Visayas and Mindanao.
He said the Ubay Agri-Park, the first of its kind in the Visayas, was launched to boost the agriculture and tourism industries in the area. It already showcases Bohol’s advances in farm technology.
Ubay is also home to the Sinandigan Multi-Species Hatchery – said to be the biggest in the country. It is a fishery infrastructure and mariculture park established to enable the fish farmers to become independent from wild stocks to promote a more stable food security for the province,
The facility produce fingerlings of milkfish (bangus), groupers (lapulapu) and siganids (kitong, danggit). It also houses a seaweed tissue culture laboratory that aims to rehabilitate quality seagrass planting materials using tissue branch culture, spore shedding and callus cell culture.
Aumentado said tourists can expect their fill of sprawling flower and fruit gardens in the Ubay Green Park and Techno Center that used to ba an open dumpsite.
The other bill seeks the creation of an LTO satellite in the 2nd District, considering that the 1st District already has one in Tagbilaran City, and the 3rd District also has one in Jagna town. (By JUNE S, BLANCO)