Representatives from the Philippines Visit Hokkaido University

University News | March 30, 2017

Secretary Fortunato T. De La Peña giving the opening address for the informal meeting at the Space Mission Center (Creative Research Institution).
Secretary Fortunato T. De La Peña giving the opening address for the informal meeting at the Space Mission Center (Creative Research Institution).

Last week, the university had the pleasure of conducting the graduation ceremonies which included our first batch of Filipino students of the Micro-satellite Project, and to welcome several prestigious guests: the Honorable Fortunato T. de la Peña, the Secretary of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Dr. Joel Marciano, a Hokkaido University Ambassador and also associated with the Advanced Science and Technology Institute of DOST, and Associate Professor Gay Jane Perez from the University of the Philippines, Diliman. The abovementioned guests are collaborative partners involved with the Micro-satellite Project and visited the university to congratulate the new batch of graduates by attending a number of ceremonies. Secretary Fortunato de la Peña commented that he would like to encourage graduates to pursue careers related to science and technology and to become active in research or teaching.

To strengthen the relationship between Hokkaido University and the Philippines, the guests spent the day speaking with students, touring parts of the university, and meeting with collaborators of the Micro-satellite Project. Led by Professor Yukihiro Takahashi, the director of the Space Mission Center at Hokkaido University, the Micro-satellite Project is a collaboration between 9 Asian countries, including the Philippines and Tohoku University in Japan, which has promoted fluid communication and the development of science in the involved countries.

When asked about the impact of the project in the Philippines, Secretary Fortunato de la Peña stated:

“Well, first of all, I think it has created some kind of awareness with ordinary Filipinos that this sort of thing [science and technology] can be useful. This satellite can help us monitor the environment, especially important since we are a disaster-prone country. Secondly, this is very important technology for monitoring and managing our natural resources. Finally, in addition to creating business opportunities, the Micro-satellite Project has generated interest related to space technology in our top-level decision makers.”

The Secretary is referring to the recently approved 10-year Space Development Program in the Philippines and plans to create the Philippine Space Agency. “We will continue our collaborations with Hokkaido University to make sure that the research projects we have started will continue,” he remarked in conclusion.

From front left, Ms. Kaye Vergel, Secretary Fortunato T. De La Peña (DOST), Mr. Benjamin Magallon. From rear left Prof. Yukihiro Takahashi (Hokkaido University), Dr. Joel S. Marciano Jr. (DOST), Dr. Gay Jane Perez (University of the Philippines, Diliman).