The Alyansa ng mga Grupong Haligi ng Agham at Teknolohiya para sa Mamamayan or AGHAM, Inc. lauded the effort of Malacanang to continue the offering of Bachelor of Science in Meteorology thru previously identified state universities. The pilot batch of students started in 2011 and completed the course in 2014.

“We are grateful and appreciative of President Aquino’s support to science and technology, particularly the B. S. Meteorology Course,” AGHAM Pres. Angelo Palmones said.

Palmones said the importance of having a continuing supply of human resource in meteorology is highlighted by the fact that the country is visited by more than 20 typhoons annually, and by the prevailing worldwide concern on climate change.

“Let us also consider another truth that we are fast losing our meteorologists and meteorology experts to foreign countries,” Palmones added.

The first of its kind in Asia, the pioneering program is a collaborative undertaking of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), Science Education Institute (SEI), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Bicol University (BU), Central Luzon State University (CLSU), Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU), Visayas State University (VSU), and AGHAM Inc.

The pilot B.S. Meteorology course was included under the DOST-SEI Junior Level Scholarship Program. All sixteen scholars graduated last March 2014, and who are now employed in both government and private institutions.

“The B.S. Meteorology program opened up a lot of opportunities for us, one of the best outputs is to add on the workforce of our Weather Bureau. Being a graduate of this program, I can say that we are lucky to be a part of something big for the country although we still have a long way to go in enhancing our skills and expertise in this field,” said Charlindo V. Torrion.

Torrion is one of the three scholars from VSU and is now working with Weather Philippines Foundation. He said another field they are focusing on is research for them to better understand the dynamics and mechanisms in the atmosphere.

“We are happy to contribute in the making of a weather wiser nation,” Torrion added.

John Ruel Locaba, one of the four scholars from Bicol University said, “Being one of the pioneer graduates of AGHAM Party-list’s B.S. Meteorology Program has really made a difference for me when it comes to employment. I can say that there are numerous firms, public or private, in need of a weather expert. Being under the program just opened the door for me, as well as the other graduates.”

He added this move from AGHAM, PAGASA and the consortium universities is a great step towards combating hazards brought about by weather phenomena, and could significantly help in saving lives and properties. Locaba is now a Meteorologist of Apo Cement Corp (CEMEX) in Cebu.

The pilot classes were hosted and conducted at the Administration Building of PAGASA.

“Performing the job of a PAGASA Coordinator of the B.S. Meteorology Program is both challenging and fulfilling. Since the inception of the program, I have been involved in its various activities, including among others the preparation of the curriculum, scouting for appropriate faculty members and lecturers, even attending meetings and the opening of summer class at CLSU,” narrated Dr. Cynthia P. Celebre, PAGASA Weather Services Chief for Research and Development and Training Division.

Celebre said all the efforts poured into the program is fulfilling because the graduates are contributing largely to the betterment of services of PAGASA.

“The scholars are all very good and performing well wherever they have been posted. Hence, I am very happy and honored that I became a part of this noble undertaking,” Celebre added.

“AGHAM is truly grateful to all the collaborating organizations, and the Administration of President Aquino for the support and assistance, without which the B.S. Met program would not have been successful,” concluded Palmones.

AGHAM is a non-government organization pushing for the development of science and technology and strengthened application of research and development outputs in various economic sectors of the country. (PSciJourn/Vicky B. Bartilet thru Estrella Z. Gallardo, PSciJourn MegaManila)