The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) formalized their partnership in the creation of the national environment and natural resources (ENR) geospatial database through a memorandum of agreement (MOA) on February 6 at the DENR Central Office in Quezon City.

Environment Secretary Antonia Loyzaga and PhilSA Director General Dr. Joel Joseph S. Marciano Jr. led the signing of the MOA for a collaborative project of using satellite imagery in creating the national ENR geospatial database, and in other related programs of the DENR.

Loyzaga, whose major thrust on environmental protection and natural resource conservation includes the creation of the system, said the partnership with PhilSA, a government agency responsible for addressing national issues and activities related to space science and technology applications (SSTA), will significantly support the development of strategies for a science-based, risk-informed, ethical and equitable stewardship of the environment.

“A geospatial platform is fundamental for us in terms of establishing the physical basis of our natural resources, and in terms of our wanting to inventory them for strategic and critical development of our country,” Loyzaga said.

The MOA specifically covers two initiatives: the National Greening Program (NGP) progress monitoring through the use of current and emerging space science and technology applications (SSTA) capabilities in the country, and the establishment of a comprehensive national geospatial database for the Environmental and Natural Resource Accounting Program (ENRAP), which includes the collection of climate information and conduct analysis.

PhilSA will be responsible in developing and generating maps, systems and tools on a national level that analyzes vulnerabilities and impacts of climate change and disasters, among many others.

It will also assist the DENR in monitoring NGP areas and other forests using satellite remote sensing, artificial intelligence and geographic information system, and provide the DENR staff technical capacity training in using such tools and systems.

In turn, the DENR will provide information or data required by PhilSA to develop and generate maps and other field data, coordinate with relevant bureaus and attached agencies for the implementation of the activities covered in this agreement.

This joint project between the DENR and PhilSA will then be integrated into the creation of a national capital accounting system that is led by the environmental agency and the National Economic and Development Authority.

“We’re not just building a new agency. As we always say, we are trying to build a domestic space ecosystem, and that includes agencies like the DENR that takes such space-borne capabilities, and create value out of it,” Marciano said.

In line with this project, the DENR Secretary also announced that Undersecretary for Integrated Environmental Science Dr. Carlos Primo C. David spearheaded the establishment of a Geospatial Database Office located at the DENR Central Office.

David said the new team is composed of experts from the science community and the academe.

Secretary Loyzaga further stated that this will utilize remote sensing, as well as geographical systems to actually plot out, and harmonize the different policies and strategies that the Department would like to put forward in terms of achieving the 8-point socioeconomic agenda of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.#