Solon wants Pag-asa employees exempted from Salary Standardization Law

A LAWMAKER Thursday moved to increase the salary of the officials and
employees of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, Astronomical and
Seismological Administration (Pagasa) to avert the exodus of more
weather forecasters to other countries which are offering high pay.

Rep. Angelo Palmones (Party-list, AGHAM) filed House Bill 2004
exempting PAG-ASA employees from the Salary Standardization Law.

Under the bill, the salary of Pagasa employees will be determined by
the Department of Budget Management (DBM), the Civil Service
Commission (CSC) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

According to Palmones, Pagasa has 1,452 employees, 608 have bachelor’s
degrees, 44 with Master’s degrees and 10 with PhD’s.

“This miniscule number of highly trained personnel is under constant
threat of being depleted due to the lure of higher-paying jobs
overseas,” Palmones said.

Under the measure, office and administrative personnel are also
covered by the exemption since weather forecasting starts from the
gathering of meteorological data from the field which are fed the
Pagasa Central Office for processing, analysis, and forecasting of
extreme weather events such as typhoons, floods and storm surges.

“Today, the highest salary for a Pagasa official with a PhD is at the
level of P20, 000 only,” Palmones said.

Palmones said former Pagasa employees who left the country are
receiving P100,000 to P200,000 as forecasters in other countries,”
Palmones said.

“The ability of PAGASA to make accurate weather forecasts is hampered
either by outdated forecasting equipment or simply lack of it. But
equally important in the forecasting of weather events are the
personnel who collect weather data from the field, process the data,
make analysis and forecasts and ultimately inform the public of the
impending weather situation,” Palmones said.

“But the salary shall not be lower than 150 percent nor higher than
200 percent of the current salaries of the Pagasa employees and on top
of government salary adjustments that are due them, should there be
any,” Palmones said.

Palmones also lamented the lack of schools in the Philippines that
offer a bachelor’s degree in meteorology as being another factor to
the diminishing number of highly educated and trained weather

“What we have today are masteral and PhD degrees trainings. Thus, the
ranks of trained meteorologist/weather forecasters continue to dwindle
because of higher paying jobs outside the Philippines,” Palmones said.

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