Pagasa seeks higher 2015 budget

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Monday, August 11, 2014

THE state weather bureau is seeking an increase in its 2015 budget to enhance its capability to predict and monitor future weather systems.

During Monday's budget briefing of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) at the House of Representatives, Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) chief Vic Milano said bulk of the P3.4 billion proposed budget for next year would be spent for new equipment and communication facilities and for the hiring of new weather forecasters.

"The 2015 budget increase is more on [buying] new equipment, radars and computing facilities. Three hundred million pesos would be spent for Doppler radars while P1.8 billion for communication facilities," Malano said.


He added that P2.4 billion will go to capital outlay, P545 million for maintenance and other Operating expenses and P434 million for personnel services.

Malano said the weather bureau's proposed budget for next year is 176-percent higher than this year's P1.256 billion.

Several lawmakers meanwhile told DOST officials to address the salaries and compensation issues of its attached agencies, as Pagasa forecasters reportedly still fail to receive the benefits promised by the government.

Kabataan party-list Representative Terry Ridon said that these salaries and compensation issues may partly explain the continuous exodus of the state-weather bureau personnel.

Last May, the state-run weather bureau has lost three more competent weather men who have left for better opportunities overseas.

Ramon Agustin, president of the Philippine Weathermen Employees Association, said that two of the three were weather forecasters and one was a communications engineer.

Agustin said that the Qatar Bureau of Meteorology hired them as airport forecasters and communications specialists.

He also explained that the three had actually planned to leave Pagasa in 2013 but "they were prevailed upon to stay, hoping there would be improved economic benefits at the agency as promised." (Sunnex)

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