Press Release
June 3, 2014

Drilon: Competitive compensation for weathermen
key to modernizing PAGASA

Concerned about a number of meteorologists and forecasters leaving the nation's main weather bureau and to avert a possible brain drain, Senate President Franklin M. Drilon today filed Senate Bill No. 2265 that will increase the salary and benefits of personnel of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) and modernize its equipment and facilities.

The Senate leader urged his colleagues to fast-track the passage of SBN 2265, along with other pending bills on PAGASA modernization, "in order to convince our meteorologists and forecasters to stay and continue serving the country."

"This bill aims to augment the financial rewards of working in PAGASA, in order to boost the productivity of current personnel and likewise attract newcomers to join the agency," explained Drilon.

"The government has to prevent this brain drain of our meteorological services by addressing the plights and woes of their personnel regarding adequate compensation. We do not want to arrive at the situation where Filipino weather experts will say 'Walang pag-asa sa PAGASA' (There is no hope in PAGASA)," stressed Drilon.

Director Vicente Malano, PAGASA's officer in charge, revealed before the Senate Committee on Science and Technology's hearing today on the proposed PAGASA Modernization Act, that a total of 32 personnel, mostly weather forecasters, have already left the agency since 2005 for a more rewarding job opportunities abroad.

"I call on my colleagues in the Senate to prioritize this bill, for it is high time that we take bolder steps towards the modernization of PAGASA to effectively manage weather and geological related risks, minimize the vulnerability of people and investments, and boost the resilience of institutions and communities," said Drilon.

At the House of Representatives, its counterpart bill, House Bill 4397, was approved on third and final reading last week.

Under the SBN 2265, it tasked the Department of Science and Technology and the administrator of PAGASA, in coordination with the Department of Budget and Management and the National Economic and Development Authority to formulate the modernization program for the PAGASA.

According to the bill, there shall be a three-year program for the modernization of the PAGASA that will focus on human resource development, which means training and scholarship for undergraduate and graduate degrees in Meteorology, new salary scale consistent with the Magna Carta for Scientist, Engineers, Researchers and other Science and Technology Personnel in Government.

The amount necessary to carry out the implementation of the Act shall be initially charged against the current fiscal year appropriations of the DOST-PAGASA, the bill says.

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