‘Gabay mula Kalawakan, Tanglaw sa Pagbangon’

A message delivered by Tricia Zafra, Chief of the Public Relations and Information Division of the Philippine Space Agency during the 2nd anniversary of the signing of the Philippine Space Act.

A pleasant day to all of you.

I am thankful for the task of talking about this year’s anniversary theme. This made me reflect on the work we do and our purpose amid a raging pandemic. It also made me think what living in quarantine would look like if we didn’t have the space technology and applications we have now. To be honest, I cannot even imagine.

News and Netflix are just some of the things that keep us in the know, entertained, and sane amid stay home orders and forced isolation. Watching the victorious journeys of our Olympians kept us connected and united even when we needed to stay apart. Navigation apps ensure that our essentials find their way to us amid movement restrictions. All these and more, thanks to satellites.

We have always known that information is power, and it has gone unnoticed that satellites are among the tools that provide valuable information in figuring out more efficient ways of going about our daily lives. Satellite data allows us to prepare for weather disturbances, watch over our territories, drive to our destinations without getting lost, and for many brick and mortar enterprises – to shift to e-commerce to survive the pinch caused by Covid-19.

Our anniversary’s theme this year, Gabay mula Kalawakan, Tanglaw sa Pagbangon highlights how satellite technology empowers us to overcome the Covid-19 crisis through information, foresight, and most importantly, hope.

Hope, because through the Philippine Space Agency, the nation is rekindling, and keeping alive, the dream of young people in STEM and in other fields of expertise to be part of space programs. A dream shared by many. A dream that we, who are working with PhilSA, are already realizing. The pandemic should not be allowed to deprive our students, researchers, engineers, and scientists the same opportunity to realize their dreams, not only for themselves, but for the country.

The theme Gabay mula Kalawakan, Tanglaw sa Pagbangon wishes to convey that this pandemic is the reason we should not lose sight of the role of space science and technology in shaping our recovery strategies. Covid-19 is forcing humanity to change toward sustainability, equity, inclusivity. In order to achieve this, the nation, the world, needs science. And space science will have a critical role in this.

By harnessing space technology, our country could have affordable and reliable Internet connection in the farthest barangays; achieve food security through sustainable and more precise agricultural practices; deliver more efficient and timely disaster and emergency responses, and; implement a more socially responsive urban planning.

Spoiler alert: we are never returning to our pre-pandemic lives. It will never be business as usual as we know it. But because we are working for PhilSA, we are at an opportune position to steer the nation to a future beyond this pandemic, toward recovery, and toward sustainable, equitable, and inclusive development. While it is already unimaginable at this point how life looked like before space science technology and applications became available, I can see a clearer, brighter future for the country with SSTA initiatives being fully supported and harnessed – dahil may PhilSA.

At dahil may PhilSA, at tayo ay nasa PhilSA, kaya nating hubugin ang hinaharap ayon sa kailangan ng ating lipunan. Sa pamamagitan ng tamang teknolohiya, magagabayan tayo ng makatotohanang impormasyon na magsisilbing tanglaw tungo sa paghilom at tuluyang pagbangon at pag-ahon mula sa krisis – para sa mas masagana at mas maginhawang hinaharap.

Maraming salamat sa inyong oras at sa pakikinig. Magandang hapon.

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