The Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) officially launched its children’s book titled “Si Tala at ang Kanyang Lakbay Kalawakan!” at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), Pasay City on 06 December 2023 from 01:30 PM to 04:00 PM.
The first-ever children’s activity book focuses on the treaties of the United Nations (UN) on outer space for elementary school children which aims to spread awareness on space policy, law, and diplomacy for space science and technology applications (SSTA).
PhilSA Director General Dr. Joel Joseph S. Marciano, Jr. shared that Filipino children have innate curiosity about space. It starts with learning about the planets and the stars in their formative years. With this, a part of PhilSA’s mission is to connect with Filipino kids and show them the possibilities outer space can bring with its yamang kalawakan or the space resources that can be used for the country’s development.
Science and Technology Secretary Renato U. Solidum, Jr., in a recorded message, highlighted the importance of this book in his message of support, “And now, as we witness the unfolding of Si Tala at ang Kanyang Lakbay Kalawakan! we recognize that PhilSA is continuing the legacy that the DOST started in the field of space science education. This illustrated story book […] is a gateway to the cosmos for young minds and young minds at heart. By introducing the UN treaties on outer space at the primary education level, PhilSA is sowing the seeds of awareness and responsibility among our youth.”
As the central government agency focused on national issues and activities related to SSTA, PhilSA actively participates in the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space or the UN COPUOS. PhilSA’s initiatives include strengthening ties with the international community, Philippine ratification of the international space treaties, and PhilSA’s Space For All: Engaging the Youth on International Space Law and Policy Project, Space Policy and International Cooperation Bureau (SPICB) Director Atty. Noelle Riza Castillo presented.
A live reading of “Si Tala at ang Kanyang Lakbay Kalawakan!” was also conducted by elementary school children Kyrie Sanchez and Juan Magiting de la Cruz accompanied by Mr. Joseph Gutierrez of PhilSA.
In her closing remarks and on behalf of DFA-United Nations and Other International Organizations (UNIO) Assistant Secretary Maria Teresa Almojuela, Office of UNIO Division 2 Director Nadine Rosario Morales congratulated and commended PhilSA for the timely publication of its children’s book. In line with the learner-based and inquiry-based science curriculum, Director Morales also noted that this book will certainly inspire the country’s next generation of leaders to pursue interests in the field of outer space.
“The Department has likewise advocated for the Philippine Space Agenda through space science diplomacy– ensuring its integration in and consistency with relevant treaties and international agreements. With this, the Department assures that it will continue providing PhilSA strategic and policy guidelines to promote and protect Philippine interests before the international community, facilitate accession to ratification of space and space-related instruments, as well as forge and strengthen partnerships in the pursuit of our aim for the Philippines to become an even more active and responsible space actor,” Director Morales added.
A pledge of support from the participants was also signed during the program.
The book launch was joined by Mr. Giovanni Serritella of the EU Delegation to the Philippines, Mr. Lorenzo New of the Embassy of the United States of America, Ms. Pooja Vernekar of the Embassy of India, Mr. Nikolai Ovsiannikov of the Embassy of Russia, and Mr. Chichiro Kanino of the Embassy of Japan in Manila.
Officials and representatives from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Science and Technology, Local Government Units (LGUs) of Pasay City, Taguig City, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and Embassy of Poland, University of Sto. Tomas, New Era University also joined the book launch.
Authored by Mr. Patrick Mansujeto, illustrated by Ms. Ara Villena, and edited by Xi Zuq, the book is a part of PhilSA’s “Space for all: Engaging the Youth on International Space Law and Policy Project” that aims to utilize research and communication initiatives to increase public awareness, influence the youth, and reinforce support for space policy, law, and diplomacy for SSTA activities.
Read the book here: Philippine Space Agency (philsa.gov.ph)