Manila, Philippines--The Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology, Research and Development (DOST - PCIEERD), in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), hosted the 23rd Session of the Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF-23) with the theme “Building a Future through Space Science, Technology and Innovation” last November 15-18, 2016.
APRSAF provides opportunities to discuss regional and international cooperation on space activities, which involves sharing of information on the activities and future plans in the following areas: Earth Observation (EO), Communication Satellite Applications (CSA), Space Education and Awareness (SEA), and Space Environment Utilization (SEU).
During the plenary session, Dr. Carlos Primo C. David, Executive Director of DOST-PCIEERD, recognized the country’s very timely hosting of the APRSAF. He said that the country has just recently made its foray into exploring space by launching its first microsatellite, Diwata-1. “For the Philippines, our eagerness to have our own space agency has gained ground because in the past four years, we saw government’s support to our program on space technology applications or STA. This program focuses on addressing the ‘Integrity of the Environment and Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation’, one of the five Key Result Areas (KRAs) of the President’s Social Contract with the Filipino people,” Dr. David said.
Dr. Carlos Primo C. David, PCIEERD Executive Director delivers his opening remarks during the APRSAF-23.
From the co-organizing agency, Mr. Ryuichiro Shirama, MEXT Deputy Director General for Research and Development Bureau, welcomed the participants and thanked Philippines for hosting APRSAF-23.
Dr. Rowena Cristina L. Guevara, DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development and General Co-Chair of the APRSAF, likewise welcomed the participants. “We are very honored and thankful to APRSAF for giving us the trust and opportunity to be part of its history since its commencement in 1993. This year’s theme aims to promote further cooperation by leveraging scientific and technical expertise from within and outside of space agencies, and encourage more innovative applications to tackle common challenges in this region,” Dr. Guevara said.
In his keynote speech, DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña acclaimed a number of DOST initiatives that made significant contributions and addressed compelling issues of the country. He also gave an update on the status of the Philippine Space Development and said that APRSAF gave an inspiration and challenged the country to continue these initiatives. “There is still an array of other Space Science, Technology and Innovation activities that we have yet to support. This includes space medicine, commercial service available in the ISS, KIBO utilization, space commercialization and exploration and zero gravity experiments,” he said.By hosting the 23rd Session of APRSAF here in Manila, Secretary dela Peña said we make the country known as well as the initiatives and invaluable contributions of skillful and brilliant Filipino scientists, engineers, practitioners and technopreneurs here and abroad.
From left to right: Ryuichiro Shirama, MEXT Deputy Director General for Research and Development Bureau and Dr. Rowena Cristina L. Guevara, DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development, General Co-Chairs of the APRSAF, and DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña delivers their welcome remarks and keynote speech, respectively to the participants of APRSAF 23.
A special session organized by Dr. Enrico C. Paringit, Associate Professor at the Training Center for Applied Geodesy and Photogrammetry of the University of the Philippines Diliman (UP-TCAGP) showcased the space technology applications in mitigating natural disasters. Topics include the Philippine government’s disaster risk reduction and management program, space-based agricultural drought management program, Philippines’ landslide warning system, the Earth observation (EO) Data-Supply coordination, and the Sentinel Asia 10th Anniversary.
Further, Phil-Microsat program leader, Dr. Joel Joseph Marciano, now Acting Director of DOST-Advanced Science and Technology Institute, organized a special session on small satellites for innovation featuring the country’s very own Diwata-1. He was joined by Engr. Raul Sabularse, Deputy Executive Director of DOST-PCIEERD, Prof. Yukihiro Takahashi of Hokkaido University, Dr. Koichi Wakata, Program Manager of JAXA ISS, and Mr. Harold Bryan S. Paler, one of the nine engineers of Diwata-1.
During the weeklong event, various workshops and working group sessions were also held simultaneously. Four APRSAF working group parallel sessions--Space Applications, Space Technology, Space Environment Utilization, and Space Education—were organized to share information about the activities and future plans of each country and region in these respective areas.
Four APRSAF working group sessions--Space Applications, Space Technology, Space Environment Utilization, and Space Education
Other side initiatives were Asian Beneficial Collaboration through Kibo (Kibo-ABC) Initiative Workshop, which has an aim to promote ISS/Kibo utilization and share and build on the outcomes of “Kibo” utilization in the Asia-Pacific region, and the Space Applications for Environment (SAFE) Workshop, which is a voluntary initiative that encourages environmental monitoring in the long term to understand environmental changes. Further, a New Cooperation Session was conducted to explore opportunities for further space-related cooperation through the APRSAF framework.
Water Rocket Event and Can Satellite Competition were also held on November 12-13, co-organized by the DOST-Science Education Institute with support from DOST-PCIEERD. The said side events aimed to provide education and training opportunities for young people in space science and technology.
DOST-PCIEERD also hosted a welcome dinner with performances from the students of the Philippine High School for the Arts. And to end the conference, a cultural tour at the National Museum and Rizal Park was organized by DOST-PCIEERD with the support of the Department of Tourism-NCR.
Approximately 576 participants from 33 countries and regions, and 10 international organizations in the Asia-Pacific region attended the largest space-related conference. The delegates mostly came from various space agencies, governmental bodies, international organizations, companies, and research institutes.