Press Release
September 3, 2010


In a recently held public hearing of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, committee chair Senator Edgardo J. Angara tasked the Congressional Commission on Science Technology and Engineering (COMSTE) to assist the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) in expediting its modernization plans and establishing more international collaborative ties. "We are all aware of the shortcomings of PAGASA, but the time for pointing fingers is over. It is time for us to focus our efforts on finding the swiftest path to building the weather forecasting capabilities of PAGASA to be on a world class level," said Angara, who chairs COMSTE.

Executive Director of COMSTE, Dr. Gregory Tangonan pointed out that two key factors in helping PAGASA are to keep a science-based approach in addressing issues and to avoid the pitfalls of politicizing events and also to broaden the technological working base of PAGASA by building on existing ties with nations like Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Australia, the US, and Thailand.

Angara also tasked COMSTE to look into existing agreements with nations that have yet to be capitalized on, adding that, "the country should be prepared to face the challenges in this age of climate change. Our reliance on the government alone to solve our problems will leave us in this same situation. We have to innovate our technological capabilities by tapping the experience and S&T platforms of our neighbors."

Dr. Graciano Yumul, OIC of PAGASA also presented data that showed PAGASA has lost 24 meteorologists in the past 10 years, highlighting the lack of personnel and the effects of brain drain on weather forecasting capabilities.

"I have tasked COMSTE to actively participate in building up the new PAGASA. We have to make sure that our personnel get the best equipment and training in order to provide accurate, real-time information and avoid the destruction and loss of life that occurs when we storms catch us unprepared," added Angara.

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