Editor’s note: This story was published in whole with permission from the Philippine Space Agency. Original story appears here.
The Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) and the United Arab Emirates Space Agency (UAESA) held a bilateral meeting on the occasion of the 47th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the Philippines and the UAE on 19 August 2021.
The bilateral meeting was attended by the Philippine Ambassador to the UAE, Her Excellency Hjayceelyn M. Quintana, and Consul General Marford Angeles. The UAESA delegation was composed of Executive Director and Advisor in Space Science Mr. Ibrahim AlQasim, Head of Space Projects Eng. Abdulla Al Marar, Head of International Organizations and Relations, Eng. Naser Al Hammadi, and International Relations and Partnerships Senior Specialist Eng. Hasan Alshehhi.
Representatives of the PhilSA delegation were Director General Dr. Joel Joseph Marciano, Jr., Deputy Director General for Space Science and Technology Dr. Gay Jane P. Perez, Director of Space Policy and International Cooperation Bureau Atty. Noelle Riza Castillo, Division Chief of Public Relations and Information Division Tricia Zafra, and Office of the Director General staff Leonardo Jaminola III.
“What better way then to commemorate the 47th year anniversary of the establishment of Philippine and UAE diplomatic relations than by getting our two space agencies to meet and see what our shared aspirations can achieve together,” Ambassador Quintana said.
She added: “By forging this path of space cooperation, the Philippines and the UAE are charting a new frontier in our bilateral relations, which like space, will be of limitless possibilities.”
In his opening remarks, PhilSA Director General Joel Joseph Marciano, Jr. expressed his optimism for a deeper diplomatic relationship that ventures in the field of space science and technology: “Our countries’ long-standing relation is founded by our shared values and common interests in a vast range of areas of cooperation. PhilSA is of the view that cooperation in the field of space sciences and technology is another promising endeavor that our countries can pursue to further strengthen our diplomatic ties. We find that this meeting is a significant stride to forge synergy between our countries in this area.”
During the meeting, PhilSA and UAESA exchanged ideas on possible areas of future collaboration. These are conducting joint satellite research and development and access to data, conducting joint scientific missions on space exploration and access to relevant data, research on the data gathered by the UAE’s Hope Probe, conducting capacity-building activities, and promotion of space industry development, amongst others.
The Philippine Space Agency and the UAESA may exchange satellite data to be used for various applications, such as disaster management and emergency response, and food security. PhilSA likewise seeks space-related opportunities for Filipinos in the form of joint R&D activities, faculty and student exchange programs, internships, and academic grants with the help of the UAE – the first Arab country to launch a Mars mission through its Hope Probe.
“The success of the Emirates Mars Mission is proof of the remarkable progress made by the UAE in the field of space sciences and technology and its growing prominence in the global space community,” Dir. Gen. Marciano said.
Ibrahim Al Qasim, Space Science Advisor of the UAE Space Agency praised the strong and important ties between both nations. The UAE and the Philippines have a deep and long-standing partnership built on decades of mutual collaboration and cooperation across a wide range of strategically important industries: “Space sector collaborations are essential for both the UAE and the Philippines. As our two countries accelerate the growth and increase investments into this exciting yet nascent industry, there will be many opportunities to collaborate and share knowledge and ideas as we work together to create new avenues for space-based innovation.”
Al Qasin added: “The long-standing strategic bilateral relationship between the UAE and the Philippines is grounded in a shared collaborative spirit and a shared commitment to empower talent and foster an entrepreneurial spirit. We look forward to expanding our horizons through potential joint space exploration programs and initiatives that accelerate economic diversification by scaling up expertise in cutting-edge new industries.”
The UAE Space Agency was established pursuant to Federal Decree No. 1 of 2014. The agency directly reports to the cabinet and enjoys financial and administrative independence. It is tasked to develop, organize, support, guide and coordinate the growing space sector of the UAE that is seen to contribute to the national economy and sustainable development. It is also mandated to develop, support and utilize space science and technology within the UAE under international space law, raise awareness on the importance of the space sector, and develop qualified human resources for the field.
The Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) was created by virtue of Republic Act 11363, or “The Philippine Space Act”, which was enacted into law on 08 August 2019. PhilSA is the central government agency addressing all national issues and activities related to space science and technology applications (SSTA), mandated as the primary policy, planning, coordinating, implementing, and administrative entity of the Executive Branch of the government that will plan, develop, and promote the country’s national space program. The Agency is directly attached to the Office of the President, which facilitates the promulgation of executive and administrative orders and formulation of regulatory and legislative proposals on matters pertaining to SSTA development. The PhilSA is headed by a Director General with the rank of a Cabinet Secretary, who also serves as the Presidential Adviser on Space Matters.
Both space agencies agreed to hold a subsequent meeting to discuss the possibility of entering into a formal agreement.