Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Pinoy astronomers cite benefits of space program, call for creation of PSA

By Dino Balabo

MALOLOS CITY—Filipino astronomers called for the creation of the Philippine Space Agency (PSA) citing the benefits of space science that will usher in further development in the country.

The call came during the launch of the initiative for the creation of PSA in Quezon City on Friday where copies of a House Bill submitted to Congress by Agham party-list Rep. Angelo Palmones were handed to journalists.

Dr. Jose Edgardo Aban of the University of Brunei Darussalam said that creation of the PSA will lead to development of technologies that will help the country address the effects of climate change and disasters.

As former head of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Committee on Space Technology Applications, Aban said through the PSA, the country can have its own satellites that can be used in mapping the entire archipelago.

He said that satellite-based images can also be used in addressing post-disaster situations in the country along with proper identification of the country’s territorial boundaries to avoid international disputes.

“It has been a long time dream for Filipino astronomers and space scientists to someday have a single agency on the country, just like NASA that will navigate the country’s space science research and development that will spur development of applications that can generate wealth to the nation,” said Aban.

He said that other countries in Southeast Asia had long embarked on their own space program, and the Philippines is lagging behind.

As one of the leading proponents of the PSA while he was with DOST, Aban said that they first introduced it in 2006 after a study conducted a year before.

He said that at the same time, other countries in South East Asia were also gearing up for their own space program.

“They move forward while our space program remains a proposal,” Aban said.

This was affirmed by Dr. Custer Deocaris of the Rizal Technological University (RTU) who said that “we are now behind Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.”

Deocaris said that these Southeast Asian countries will soon benefit from their space program.

“We should not forget that most of today’s modern conveniences like cellular phones, internet, cloud computing, LEDs and solar panels are spin offs from investments in space technology,” Deocaris said.

He added, “Countries that have some control on those technologies are able to develop even faster as they break the vicious cycle of technological parasitism and are able to compete in the global market.”

Deocaris added that patriotic impacts of a Philippine space program would be immeasurable.

He cited the impact of the US space program when it sent men to the moon in July 1969.

This is also true for Filipinos who are currently rooting for boxing champion Manny Pacquiao.

According to Deocaris, Filipinos are always proud of themselves and are willing to relate with fellow Filipinos who are successful.

He cited that after Miss Gloria Diaz won the Miss Universe title in 1969, it created a “pageant culture” in the country.

“Pati noong makasama sa Miss Saigon si Lea Salonga, marami din ang nahilig kumanta,” he said.

Deocaris said that there are other Filipino scientists abroad who already pledged to help develop the PSA.

BulSU to defend SCUAA-III title for the 17th year

By Dino Balabo

MALOLOS CITY—The Bulacan State University (BulSU) will defend their 17th over-all championship in the annual State Colleges and Universities Athletic Association (SCUAA) in Central Luzon.

The annual sports competition that started Sunday is hosted by the Ramon Magsaysay Technological University in Iba, Zambales. It will end on Friday.

As reigning over-all cham-pions for the past 16 straight years, the BulSU Gold Gears will be challenged by athletes from Aurora State College of Technology (Ascot), Bataan Peninsula State University (BPSU), Bulacan Agriculture State College (BASC), Nueva Ecija University of Science and Technology (NEUST), Pampanga College of Agriculture (PAC), Tarlac State University (TSU), Tarlac College of Agriculture (TCA).

Also competing are athletes from Don Honorio Ventura Technological State University (DHVTSU) in Pampanga, Ramon Magsaysay Technological University (RMTU) in Zambales, Philippine Merchant Marine Academy (PMMA) in Bataan, Central Luzon State University (CLSU) in Nueva Ecija, and the Philippine State College of Aeronautics (PhilsCA) in Pampanga.

“We are ready to defend our title because our athletes are working hard all year round,” said Dr. Mariano De Jesus, the president of BulSU.

He said that BulSU owes its strong performance in the annual SCUAA-III to its sports program.

De Jesus said that many years ago they started recruiting  athletes and placed them under a scholarship program and even provided a dormitory for members of the BulSU Gold gears.

The program was hailed by Dr. Danily Hilario, BulSU vice president for external affairs, research and extension.

He said that the BulSU Gold Gears has dominated the SCUAA-III by winning at least 140 gold medals.

BulSU’s dominance is only challenged by the BPSU which used to place second, harvesting some 20 gold medals during the five-day meet.

Also, football is expected to take center stage during the games as the sport continues to gain popularity.

Emmanuel Robles, the head coach of BulSU’s football team said they expect stronger competition this year.

“Every team wants to dethrone us defending champions,” said Robles who also coached the FutBulakenyos that won the first Central Luzon Football League (CLFL) championship last July.

This champion team has retained at least nine of its players last year, and is expected to provide a stiff challenge to the other participating teams this year.