House okays PAGASA modernization

By on May 29, 2014


A weather forecaster shows the location of super typhoon 'Haiyan' at the PAGASA office in Quezon City. Asti Flores / GMA News
A weather forecaster shows the location of super typhoon ‘Haiyan’ at the PAGASA office in Quezon City. Asti Flores / GMA News

MANILA — The House of Representatives passed on third and final reading the proposed measure which will modernize and upgrade the ill-equipped Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

House committee on Science and Technology chair and Zamboanga del Sur Rep. Victor Yu said that House Bill 4397, a consolidation of five separate measures, seeks to upgrade the physical resources and operational techniques of the agency to improve its capability and services in providing timely and accurate weather forecasts and warning.

The lawmaker said the bill also intends to raise the research and development capability of the agency, including its human resources development.

Yu stressed that the measure also mandates the increase in the basic pay and benefits of PAGASA’s personnel to encourage them to continue on their jobs and to avert a “brain drain”.

The bill also encourages a higher level of professionalism and commitment to service of its personnel.

“Latest reports say that a number of key personnel and forecasters of the agency have tendered their resignations in search of greener pastures abroad,” Yu noted.

He added as per House Committee Report 200, key provisions mandate a human resource development training component that includes a scholarship program for undergraduate and graduate degrees.

These degrees are in meteorology which shall be implemented in coordination with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), and the Commission on Higher Education and Higher Education (CHED).

The measure also mandates the DOST, in coordination with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), to develop a new salary scale consistent with Republic Act No. 8439 (Magna Carta for Scientists, Engineers, Researchers and other Science and Technology personnel in government) with a corresponding increase of the basic pay, allowances, and other benefits of the agency subject to the approval of the President.