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Marciano to head PHL space program


JOEL JOSEPH S. Marciano, Jr. will be leading the Philippine’s space program following his appointment as the first director general of the newly-established Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA). Malacañang Palace on Tuesday announced the appointment, which was signed last Dec. 9. A professor at the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD) — Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute, Mr. Marciano previously served as manager of the Philippine Scientific Earth Observation Satellite program (PHL-Microsat) and also director of the Department of Science and Technology Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI). He holds a doctoral degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of New South Wales, according to the UPD site. He has co-authored a publication titled Capacity building in space technology in the Philippines through the PHL-Microsat program, which was submitted to the 31st International Symposium on Space Science and Technology. PhilSA was created through Republic Act 11363, the Philippine Space Act, signed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte last August. Under the law, PhilSA will get a P10 billion fund over the first five years from its establishment as the country aims to become space-capable within the next decade. Gillian M. Cortez

Esperon asks: Who needs the CPP/NPA/NDF?

NATIONAL SECURITY Adviser Hermogenes C. Esperon Jr. has expressed stiff opposition to the planned revival of peace talks with communist leaders, citing their “duplicitous character and self-interest” as reflected in their proposed provisions of the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER). Mr. Esperon said the proposed CASER “do not directly reflect the best interest of the nation,” but that of the National Democratic Front (NDF), its allied organization Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), and the armed wing New People’s Army (NPA). “For one, their CASER was crafted with the goal of turning the Philippine economic model to nationalist and socialist,” Mr. Esperon said in a statement on Jan. 7, the last day of the two-week ceasefire declared by the government and the NDF last month. In the joint announcement, both parties said the cessation of hostilities is in preparation for informal discussions leading to the formal peace talks resumption. Mr. Esperon, however, asserts, “After presenting the objectionable provisions of their proposed CASER, would it be beneficial to the nation that we engage the (communists) in another round of peace talks? We have alternatives to peace talks. We are now pursuing local peace engagements which have resulted to understanding and the mainstreaming of rebels.” The security adviser, who is also vice-chair of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict on the Peace Talks, further said, “Moreover, the government has the capacity to fulfill its obligations for social justice and development. Who needs the CPP/NPA/NDF?” Gillian M. Cortez