A wonderful gift just in time for the coming Christmas season.
This is how the officials and employees of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) welcome the signing of the PAGASA Modernization Bill now known as Republic Act (RA) No. 10692 or the “The PAGASA Modernization Act of 2015”.
Signed by President Benigno S. Aquino III last November 3, 2015, the modernization law aims to improve the technological operational capacity of PAGASA, strengthen its role as the premier national weather agency, and to attain its vision as a center of excellence for weather-related information services.
The modernization program includes, among others, the acquisition of state-of-the-art instruments, equipment, facilities and systems, and enhancement of research capabilities and weather data collection of the Agency. A technology-based data center that is consistent with international standards will also be established which aims to make all weather-related information readily accessible and available to the general public.
The modernization will also address the brain drain issue of PAGASA through the creation of a human resource development program that will include a new salary scale for the personnel based on Republic Act No. 8439, otherwise known as the “Magna Carta for Scientists, Engineers, Researchers and other Science and Technology Personnel in Government.”
An additional incentive called as the “Personnel Retention Incentive” will be provided to qualified personnel, to be determined by PAGASA in consultation with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
To broaden the services of the Agency, regional weather service centers on flood forecasting and warning sub-centers will also be established in strategic areas around the country.
The modernization program will be implemented for an initial period of three (3) years, with some provisions considered such as payments for multi-year contract obligations incurred under the Act which may be extended beyond the period.
A funding amount worth three billion pesos (P3,000,000,000.00) will be taken from the share of the National Government in the gross income of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).
During an orientation-seminar conducted by PAGASA for the Senate technical staff last year, Senator Ralph Recto, one of the sponsors of the modernization bill and chair of the Committee on Science and Technology, stressed the important role of the Agency. “More than providing appropriation for its modernization, we would like to see in the bill some standards and goals with which we can better appreciate and measure the kind of modernization that is envisioned for PAGASA”, Recto emphasized.
On a personal level, Recto added that “we will benefit from understanding what the PAGASA is doing and what it promises to do more, given that in one way or another, we all have gone through the experience of a weather disturbance and face the threat of future stronger typhoons.”
Extending the heartfelt gratitude of the PAGASA officials and employees, Acting Administrator Vicente B. Malano said that the Agency has long awaited the passage of the Modernization Bill, hoping to hear early this year the good news during its 150th anniversary celebration on March 23, 2015.
“With this welcome development, we will be more inspired to serve the country. After years of waiting, we can now declare that the ‘tamang panahon’ for the men and women of PAGASA finally came.”(PAGASA Public Information)