SENATOR Emmanuel “Manny” D. Pacquiao, Sr. has asked a US-based exploration company to build a launchpad on Mindanao island in southern Philippines.

This would put the country on the map of space exploration and generate thousands of jobs for Filipino scientists, engineers, and laborers, he said in a statement on Monday after meeting with top executives of US-based Space Exploration Technologies Corp. at the weekend.

The launchpad would not only cater to their Asian clients but also allow the Philippines to launch its own satellites that can be used for communications, weather monitoring, topography mapping, environment protection and research, said the boxing champion, who is running for president this year.

Senator Aquilino Martin “Koko” Pimentel III, a political ally, said Mindanao is an ideal location for a spaceship launchpad because it is near the equator.

“The involvement of SpaceX in our country will not only bring in investments and jobs but will also put us at the forefront of space science,” Mr. Pacquiao said.

He also cited the need for the Philippines to have its own communication satellite, especially now that Filipinos rely heavily on the internet amid a coronavirus pandemic.

“This technology provides various uses such as advancing online learning, e-government services and disaster relief and coordination, as well as linking our overseas Filipino workers to their loved ones,” he said. “Our future needs this technology.”

He also vowed to build an extensive subway system in major urban areas in the Philippines if he becomes president. He also promised to modernize the country’s jeepneys by using Tesla batteries in electric cars.

The subway system can be made a reality with the help of the Boring Co., Mr. Pacquiao said, decongesting the streets of Metro Manila and other urban cities. He said he met with company officials at the weekend. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan