Green group to PNoy: Stop brain drain

GREEN group Kalikasan Partylist scored Malacanang and the Department of Budget and Management for the non-release of the hazard pay and longevity pay of Pag-asa’s weather forecasters.

Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte recently downplayed the situation by stating that it was only “suspended” and not removed.

“Whether the benefit was removed or suspended, the point is that the legitimate rights of the forecasters in PAGASA are being neglected and abused. After all the climate-related disasters that this country has experienced, the government should ensure the well-being of Filipino weather forecasters as they are professionals whose expertise is vital for the country’s disaster risk preparedness,” said Frances Quimpo, secretary-general of Kalikasan Partylist

“Studies show that the Philippines are among the top countries worldwide which are vulnerable to disasters related to climate change. If we neglect the very professionals who have the capacity and knowledge to help the country better prepare for such threats, we are also putting the lives of many more people at risk,” Quimpo said.

“More and more professionals from the Philippine science and technology center are forced to seek better opportunities abroad because of the dire economic situation here in the country and because of the lack of viable opportunities to practice their skills. Such brain drain will continue unless the administration takes concrete steps to give science and technology professionals what is due to them,” Quimpo added.

The group pointed out that the situation of government employees and the state of Philippine education is the very reason why there is brain drain in the country.

“The government’s failure to ensure a living wage for the majority of the people and its neglect of education further discourage many promising and potential scientists among the Filipino youth, providing little incentive to take up courses badly needed for the country’s domestic development such as engineering, meteorology and geology,” Quimpo added.

The green group expressed their support for the meteorologists.

“We strongly support the struggle of the meteorologists for just benefits. It is rightfully theirs and they must reap the fruits of their labor. They can expect our support. As environmental defenders, we understand how vital their job is,” Quimpo said.

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