The NEDA Regional Office XI and the Office of the Consulate General of Japan in Davao successfully conducted the first of a series of business webinars on aerospace technology on November 29, 2021, in partnership with the Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU), Commission on Higher Education XI, Department of Agriculture (DA) XI, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources XI, Department of Science and Technology (DOST) XI, and Department of Trade and Industry XI.

Over 180 participants from the national government agencies, private sector, academe, and civil society organizations in Mindanao joined the virtual event. They were informed of the latest initiatives and applications of aerospace technology, particularly in the agriculture, infrastructure, environment, and digital connectivity sectors in Japan and Mindanao.

NEDA XI Regional Director Maria Lourdes Lim, who gave an overview of the activity, said that the business webinar series serve as a venue to explore opportunities for collaboration on the development, utilization, and the capacity building on aerospace technology in Mindanao. In addition, Director Lim emphasized that aerospace technology applications shall serve as inputs in the formulation of the successor Davao Regional Development Plan and the crafting of a Davao Regional Aerospace Development Roadmap.

Speakers on the current aerospace initiatives in the Philippines were Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) Directors Marc Caesar Talampas and Ariel Blanco, with a presentation on the latest space science, technology, and applications in the country; ADDU-Department of Aerospace Engineering Chairperson Rogel Mari Sese who discussed the current aerospace initiatives and technology applications in Mindanao, one of which is the ADDU Community Connectivity Empowered by Satellite Services for Mindanao or ACCESS Mindanao Program that provides internet connectivity to remote and isolated areas in Mindanao using satellites; and DOST-Advanced Science and Technology Institute Engineer Harold Bryan Paler who delved on the work of the Philippine Earth Data Resource and Observation (PEDRO) Center particularly on generating and distributing satellite images through its Quezon, Iloilo, and Davao Ground Receiving Stations.

Highlighting the aerospace technology applications in their areas of expertise were Remote Sensing Technology Center of Japan General Manager MUKAIDA Akira who discussed the remote sensing application on environment monitoring; Kokusai Kogyo Technical Manager SASAKAWA Tadashi and DA Senior Technical Adviser Dennis Franco Layug with presentations on the satellite technology utilization in agriculture; and Nippon Koei Team Leader KAWAI Kensaku and Department of Public Works and Highways Engineer Cherisse Bagan with presentations on the satellite technology utilization in infrastructure.

In his closing message, NEDA XI Assistant Regional Director Gilberto A. Altura commended the organizers, resource persons, and the participants, and expressed his hope for more discussions on opportunities for collaboration to develop the aerospace sector in Mindanao, especially in the Metropolitan Davao. ARD Altura challenged the local development partners, “to be more open on aerospace technologies application involving international partners, especially Japan, who are advanced in aerospace systems and technologies so that the attainment of Davao Region’s development outcomes can be expedited.”