Lawmaker calls for immediate release of PAGASA workers’ benefits

FOLLOWING protests by the employees of the state weather bureau, Bayan Muna Partylist Rep. Teddy Casiño today called for the immediate release of the Magna Carta benefits of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) workers and other government employees.

“We need to recognize the heroic efforts of our weather bureau workers, not just through words but through concrete actions. They should be given their rightful and lawful benefits,” said Casiño.

“PAGASA workers have the right to protest. The law entitles them to receive hazard pay, longevity, laundry and subsistence allowances. Denial or delays in the release of such benefits is unjust and a disservice to the people whom they serve” Casiño said.

Republic Act 8439 or the Magna Carta for Scientists, Engineers, Researchers and Other Science and Technology Personnel in the Government approved in 1997 provides for the benefits of said government employees, to be funded through the General Appropriations Act. But Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Administrative Order No 002 series of 2007 charges hazard pay to “appropriations and/or savings of the agency.”

Casiño said that PAGASA workers’ predicament is not an isolated case, citing the protests of public health workers nationwide over unpaid hazard pay since January this year, pending the approval of the Department of Budget and Management for the use of agency savings.  Even though exposed to all kinds of hazards in hospitals and communities in their course of duty, health workers are denied of the P2,000-P8,000 per month hazard pay mandated by RA 7305 or the Magna Carta of Public Health Workers.

“Our government workers in PAGASA and public hospitals should not bear the brunt of so-called ‘rationalization’ of the government benefits system being done by the DBM,” said Casiño.

“We cannot just tell our public servants to wait and suffer some more, especially in the face of calamities in addition to the increasing prices of oil, utilities and basic commodities. If we expect them to provide hourly weather updates or timely and life-saving medical service, the government give them humane compensation. Otherwise we will be pushing more of our brightest workers out of government service and out of the country,” Casiño said.

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