2022 Philippine Elections

Pacquiao wants a space rocket launchpad in PH

Aika Rey

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Pacquiao wants a space rocket launchpad in PH

SPACEX MEETING. Senator Manny Pacquiao meets with Elon Musk's SpaceX executives on January 15, 2021.

Office of Senator Manny Pacquiao

Aspiring president Senator Manny Pacquiao meets with Elon Musk’s SpaceX executives

MANILA, Philippines – Aspiring president Senator Manny Pacquiao met with the executives of Elon Musk’s SpaceX, looking at ways to provide cheap internet and possibly a space rocket launchpad in the Philippines.

In a statement on Monday, January 17, Pacquiao said he and PDP-Laban chairman Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III met with SpaceX government relations head Rebecca Hunter on Saturday, January 15.

During the virtual meeting, Pacquiao said that he told SpaceX executives to “consider” the possibility of building a launchpad in the Philippines, particularly in Mindanao given its proximity to the equator.

This, he said, would not only put the Philippines on the map of space exploration, but also would provide jobs to Filipino scientists, engineers, and laborers.

“The involvement of SpaceX in our country will not only bring in investments and jobs but will also put us at the forefront of space science, said Pacquiao.

Nakaka-excite ang possibility na ito at kung ano magagawa nito para sa bansa natin. (It is exciting to think about the possibility and what it could do for our country.),” the presidential aspirant said.

Aside from launchpad talks, Pacquiao also said he was looking at low orbit satellites in providing cheap internet in the Philippines if elected president.

“This technology provides various uses such as advancing online learning, e-government services, and disaster relief and coordination, as well as linking our OFWs to their loved ones. Our future needs this technology,” Pacquiao said.

The senator also raised how Musk’s other firms could do business in the Philippines. Pacquiao noted that Tesla batteries could be used for jeepney modernization and that Boring Company could build a subway system to decongest Metro Manila. 

The Philippine government has been building a subway system, reporting 25% completion as of November 2021. Makati is also building its own subway.

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Low Earth orbit satellites were the talk of the town in 2021 when listed telco firms announced potential partnerships with Musk companies.

Through Starlink, SpaceX is seen to debut in the Philippines in 2022.

In November 2021, Converge ICT Solutions announced that its Earth station for satellite broadband was nearing completion. Transpacific Broadband Group International, meanwhile, announced that discussions with companies like SpaceX were approved by its board. – Rappler.com

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Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.