Press Release
March 8, 2008

Gordon seeks Pagasa modernization

Senator Richard Gordon has sought the modernization of the country's weather forecasting system to minimize damages caused by natural disasters.

In filing Senate Bill No. 2080, Gordon proposed the acquisition by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) of the state-of-the-art weather and geophysical equipment and facilities within the next six years.

It is imperative, he said, for the Philippines to have a modern weather forecasting and warning system because of the numerous natural disasters that hit the country every year.

"These natural disasters such as floods, typhoons, landslides and earthquakes place in great danger the safety and lives of our citizens and cause considerable damage to property," the senator said in his explanatory note.

Under the bill, Pagasa shall adopt a four-pronged modernization program.

These are (a) establishment of regional weather service centers in strategic areas across the country to broaden Pagasa's bases for delivery of services to each region; (b) modernization of physical resources and operational techniques through the acquisition of state-of-the-art equipment and facilities, with emphasis on weather and flood monitoring and warning system and agro-meteorological observational system to strengthen services for agriculture; (c) intensification of human resources development to keep pace with rapid international scientific and technological advances and (d) upgrade of research and development capability through a more rationalized and integrated approach, with focus on improvement of operations, as well as the development of specialized services for cost recovery.

Gordon said funding for the project will come from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor).

The bill also grants Pagasa the authority to enter into loan agreements with, or accept grants and donations, from foreign and local financial institutions.

The proposed measure also gives Pagasa an elbow room to adopt a sustainable cost recovery program like getting subscriptions for its specialized weather information and other scientific data.

The bill also proposes the creation of a modernization oversight committee to monitor implementation of the project. The committee will be chaired by the secretary of the Department of Science and Technology with members coming from the Senate and the House of Representatives.

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