The Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) will sign an agreement on space cooperation with the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) to strengthen the institutions’ shared commitment to the peaceful uses of outer space.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between PhilSA and the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNOOSA) will provide a framework for cooperation between the two parties to collaborate on various strategic areas, initiatives, and activities related to space science, technology, policy, law, education, and capacity-building. With the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the MOU aims to further strengthen the cooperation between PhilSA and UNOOSA in promoting the utilization of space for socioeconomic and sustainable development objectives.
Under the MOU, PhilSA and UNOOSA shall explore opportunities in the following areas: 1) joint capacity-building activities at the national level to enhance the use of space science and technology for socio-economic development, particularly in line with the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals; 2) using space-based information for disaster risk reduction and emergency response through the UN Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (UN SPIDER) program; 3) expanding mutual collaboration on activities related to international space law; and 4) securing collaboration for joint public awareness and education outreach initiatives on the importance of space science and technology for socio-economic development.
PhilSA Director General Joel Joseph S. Marciano, Jr. [formerly director of the Advanced Science and Technology Institute of the Department of Science and Technology] underscored the significance of the agreement to promote space science.
“The MOU is an important step for the country as we continue to build the local space ecosystem and cascade the benefits of space science, technology and applications to society. It signifies our desire to be an active participant and contributor within the community of nations committed to the peaceful uses of outer space,” Marciano said.
The virtual signing ceremony will be held on Friday, 04 June 2021, at 1600 Philippine Standard Time (PhST) / 1000 AM Central European Time (CET). A joint press conference between PhilSA and UNOOSA will be held after the ceremony.
The MOU signing is considered as an official side event of the 60th Session of the Legal Subcommittee (LSC) of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN COPUOS) that is currently being held in hybrid format from 31 May to 11 June 2021.
As the UN body dedicated to outer space, the UNOOSA serves as the Secretariat to the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN COPUOS). UNOOSA is instrumental in assisting the United Nations Member States to be able to strengthen their capacities in the use of space science technology and applications for socioeconomic development.
The Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) was created by virtue of Republic Act 11363, “The Philippine Space Act”, which was enacted into law on 08 August 2019. With its mandate as the primary policy, planning, coordinating, implementing, and administrative entity of the Executive Branch of the government that will plan, develop, and promote the national space program, it is the central government agency addressing all national issues and activities related to space science and technology applications (SSTA). 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.
Former OFW turned white shrimp producer benefits through help
By: Charlotte Pizarras
Workers at WTL Enterprises in Mansalay sort out newly harvested white shrimps ready for the market.
In a bid to pave the way to infuse innovation in the aquaculture industry in the MIMAROPA region, the Department of Science and Technology-MIMAROPA (DOST-MIMAROPA) assisted a local white shrimp grower in Oriental Mindoro through the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP).
Located in Mansalay, Oriental Mindoro, WTL Enterprise which is owned by a former OFW and visionary entrepreneur Wilfredo T. de Lara started off with rice milling and trading. Later on, seeing the potential of aquaculture, de Lara then ventured into bangus (milkfish) farming. Inspired by the world’s largest shrimp producer and agriculture and aquaculture conglomerate, Charoen Pokphand Foods Philippines Corporation (CPFPC), de Lara converted its 10-hectare bangus farm to four earthen ponds for pacific white shrimp farming in 2017.
Pacific white shrimp, scientifically known as Litopenaeus vannamei, is among the world’s most widely cultivated shrimp due to its ease of cultivation and rapid growth rate. However, shrimps grown in earthen ponds or ponds constructed in soil are highly vulnerable to diseases which lead to increased mortality.
“Earthen ponds tend to have low pH, salinity, and temperature as well as low dissolved oxygen during unfavorable climatic conditions, and thus creating an unfriendly environment for the cultured shrimp,” said Jesse Pine, the DOST-Provincial Science and Technology director in Oriental Mindoro.
According to Pine, stressed shrimps are also more likely to grow in smaller sizes. He said that 30% of the enterprise’s produce before consisted of small-sized shrimps that subsequently command a lower price or value.
The earthen ponds currently being used by WTL also limits productivity to only two harvesting seasons a year since it requires at least two months of preparation before restocking.
Confronted by these problems and limitations, de Lara decided to seek the help of the DOST through SETUP last 2019 to acquire appropriate technologies to boost the productivity of his pacific white shrimp farm. Through the program, WTL was provided with 30 sets of Paddle Wheel Aerator and 25,480 square meters of High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) pond lining material.
Left and right photos show the current setup of ponds with the High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) pond liner and paddle wheel aerators.
“The technologies ensure an optimal oxygen supply, healthy water quality, and clean pond bottom for maximized shrimp growth, better survival rates, and resistance to diseases,” said Pine.
The aerators and plastic pond liners prevent soil-water interaction, hence, eliminating issues of soil acidity, salinization, and uncontrolled seepage of water.
Pond cleaning and preparation also become more efficient, requiring only two weeks compared with the two-month normal earthen pond cleaning and drying process. This resulted in improved production efficiency through increased annual cycles and increased annual production volume of 40%.
The newly harvested white shrimps from WTL Enterprises’ farm were relatively bigger than the previous harvests without technological interventions.
“WTL now has three production seasons annually and the technologies have helped to lower the percentage of harvested small-sized shrimps from 30% to 15%. Most importantly, the survival rate increased from 75% to 90%,” said Pine.
At present, the enterprise can supply pacific white shrimp in the province all year round. It is also one of the main suppliers in Boracay and Malabon. Because it produces cleaner shrimps, it can now command better prices.
DOST-MIMAROPA hopes that other micro, small, and medium enterprises will jump on the bandwagon in the aquaculture industry and become more daring to use innovative technologies to be more competitive in the local and global markets.
EU-ASEAN dialogue zeroes in on plastic waste management
and green technology
In pursuit of sustainable development, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) together with the European Commission Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD), with the support of the Enhanced EU-ASEAN Dialogue Instrument (E-READI) and the ASEAN Secretariat S&T Division hosted the EU-ASEAN Dialogue on GreenTech & Innovation Mapping: Green Technologies for Plastic Value Chain Management Webinar Series. This engagement is the fourth installment of the six-part webinar series.
This webinar particularly focused on plastic wastes consolidation and recycling approaches. The speakers from ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and the EU (European Union) zeroed in on the importance of policy frameworks and models on plastic waste consolidation, segregation, and recycling. Special talks of relevant EU Horizon 2020-funded projects addressing issues on plastic wastes were also presented.
This initiative aims to provide a platform for dialogues on green technology markets, particularly among innovators, and to promote EU-ASEAN Technology Cooperation and Transfer. The focus on plastic value chain management can facilitate discussions on the present and future of plastic waste management and its key elements, including new technologies and solutions on plastic waste consolidation, segregation, and recycling to close the loop towards a circular economy.
The fifth EU-ASEAN Webinar Series is scheduled on 24 June 2021 that will focus on the innovative approaches in managing plastic wastes in the marine environment. Registration for this may be accessed through this link: bit.ly/GreenTech5.