In an advisory released on 31 October, the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) notified the public of two drop zones for expected unburned debris from the Long March 5B (Mengtian Module) rocket launch. These anticipated debris are the booster and rocket fairing, designed to be discarded before the rocket enters outer space. The booster had been projected to fall on drop zone 1, which is approximately 72 kilometers from Bajo de Masinloc. The fairing, meanwhile, was expected to fall on drop zone 2, which is approximately 39 kilometers from Busuanga, Palawan.
Based on the proximity from the drop zone and the visual perusal of photos released by Palawan authorities to the public on 08 November, there is a high likelihood that the debris found in Busuanga was part of the rocket fairing of Long March 5B. In addition, it is highly likely that the pieces of debris reportedly found off the waters of Calintaan, Occidental Mindoro on 07 and 08 November were also part of the said rocket component.
The National Coast Watch Center (NCWC) has verified that on 07 November, debris was sighted and retrieved off the coast of Barangay Cheey, Busuanga, Palawan. Meanwhile, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Occidental Mindoro have verified the retrieval of debris in Barangay Poblacion, Calintaan. The debris will be in the custody and disposal of the Philippine Government. As of this time, PhilSA has not received reports of debris sighted near drop zone 1. PhilSA advises the public to immediately inform local authorities if suspected debris is sighted, and cautions everyone against retrieving or coming in close contact with these materials.
In relation to this, PhilSA would like to reiterate its sustained efforts to promote and encourage accountability among nations for objects launched into space. As stated in previous briefings, PhilSA submitted to the Department of Foreign Affairs in June 2022 the documentary requirements for the ratification of the Registration and Liability Conventions. Ratifying the Liability Convention would provide the legal basis and means to claim compensation in case of damage or injury to any property and/or people within the Philippine territory, that is caused by a space object of another State. On the other hand, while obligations under the Registration Convention are administrative and procedural, they are necessary for the implementation of the Liability Convention. PhilSA is currently working on additional documentary requirements for the preparation of the treaty packages. This remains a top priority for the Agency.
PhilSA also continues to coordinate with other space agencies and local government agencies to reduce the risks of space debris in the country.