By Perfecto T. Raymundo, Jr.

QUEZON CITY — The Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) on Wednesday (Dec. 27) confirmed the launch of the Long March 3B rocket of the People’s Republic of China (PROC).

PhilSA said that the expected debris from the rocket launch was projected to have fallen within the identified drop zones approximately 68 Nautical Miles (NM) away from Rozul Reef and 116 NM away from Ayungin Shoal.

Long March 3B was launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan, China around 11:26 A.M. Philippine Standard Time (PhST) on Tuesday (Dec. 26).

Details of the rocket drop zone were disclosed through a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) warning of an “aerospace flight activity.”

PhilSA has disseminated a pre-launch report to relevant government agencies and authorities prior to the launch.

Following the launch, PhilSA advised on the potential risks that may incur to ships, fishing boats, and other vessels that will pass through the drop zone of the debris.

There is still the possibility that the remaining rocket debris may float around the area and may wash toward the nearby coasts in the future.

PhilSA informed the public to contact local authorities if suspected debris is sighted.

It also cautioned against retrieving or coming in close contact with these materials that may contain remnants of toxic substances such as rocket fuel.