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Philippines, US firms ink five key agreements

SAN FRANCISCO – The Philippines and the US have signed five key agreements, including one on giving Manila its first satellites dedicated to providing internet connectivity to far-flung areas.

President Marcos witnessed yesterday the signing of deals on internet access, climate change resilience, clean energy, drug manufacturing and health care between the two countries’ private and public sectors on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit here.

The collaboration between satellite service providers Astranis and Orbits will involve the deployment of internet satellites dedicated to the Philippines.

The microGEO satellites to be launched will provide internet connection to 10 million people and 30,000 barangays, including unserved and underserved areas. The deal is seen to create more than 10,000 jobs and generate $400 million in investments over the next eight years.

“Astranis and Orbits have also joined forces to bring internet connectivity to unserved and underserved areas in the Philippines.  This $400 million partnership will help bridge our digital divide and foster our digital transformation,” Marcos said after the signing of the agreement at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.

Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez said the official name of the first satellite would be “Agila (eagle)” for Philippine Eagle.

“The selection of the name Agila or the Philippine eagle holds deep significance embodying the project’s unwavering commitment to connecting and empowering the Filipino nation through the expansion of access to the digital world,” the ambassador said.

The Department of Science and Technology and artificial intelligence (AI) meteorology firm Atmo Inc. also signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) on the building of a high-resolution weather forecasting system for the Philippines using AI technology.

It will be Asia’s largest AI-driven weather forecasting program. It is expected to play an important role in enhancing the resilience of the Philippines, which is visited by about 20 cyclones every year.

“Atmo and the Department of Science and Technology’s partnership on an AI-powered weather forecasting system will help the Philippines build its