Aquino: Enough weathermen in PH
MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III on Thursday, June 20, gave assurances that the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) will have enough experts who will monitor the weather, especially as the typhoon season rolls in.
"There are 37 new meteorologists that [the Department of Science and Technology, or DOST] got and PAGASA got," Aquino told reporters on the sidelines of the 115th Anniversary celebration of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
He said the hiring is so far the "biggest number" made by the state weather bureau.
Aside from this, he said there are 10 students who are currently studying for degrees in meteorology and atmospheric physics.
He said these new hires will replace the 5 weathermen who has left PAGASA since 2000. The number, he said, was what DOST Sec Mario Montejo reported. Out of this number, 3 left the agency during the present administration, including sacked former chief Prisco Nilo.
"So umalis iyong 5, pumalit 37, may 10 nakahintay pa, eh huwag naman natin siguro sabihin sa taumbayan na mawawalan tayo ng dunong para alamin ang mangyayari sa kalagayan ng panahon," he said. (So 5 personnel left, 37 replaced them, and 10 more are waiting. Let's not tell the public that we lack the brain power to predict the weather.)
"We really have to have all of the necessary people with the necessary skills. So kumilos naman sila ulit," he said.
He also said new academic programs that will train meteorologists have been established in several colleges, through the efforts of the government and groups such as the AGHAM party-list.
The President also said he will look at the status of the bonuses supposedly not yet received by PAGASA personnel.
The weather bureau's woes were again put on the spotlight following the failure of Congress to pass the PAGASA modernization bill which would have raised the salaries of personnel and purchased better equipment for the bureau.
On Wednesday, the bureau also announced that its administrator Nathaniel Servando has resigned, reportedly leaving the agency for a more lucrative job in the Middle East. - Rappler.com