Jun 142013

Despite the “brain drain” facing PAGASA as senior staff are rumored to be on the way out to head for greener pastures, a Malacañang spokesperson assured the public on Friday that in addition to hiring new forecasters, the government can vouch for the quality of the weather agency’s personnel.

“Alam ko may mga bago nga po tayong forecasters na hinire and confident naman po tayo doon sa mga kakayahan ‘nung mga forecasters natin,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said at a briefing.

Valte also took note of the skills of existing forecasters, adding that they have been constantly at the front lines during emergency situations.

We have always said that our forecasters can stand up to the test at nakikita naman po natin ‘yan kapag nagkakaroon ng kalamidad, nagkakaroon po tayo ng unos, nandiyan naman po lagi ‘yung mga PAGASA forecaster natin. They bear the brunt of the stress whenever there is any calamity that we go through,” Valte said.

Still, Valte said she understood the desire of seasoned forecasters to set their sights on greener pastures.

“I think, as a general rule, people will always want a better life for their families, and you can’t just trace that to one factor which is why kung bakit daw po umaalis ‘yung mga forecasters natin,” Valte said.

Greener pastures

An earlier report on GMA Network’s 24 Oras cited salaries seven times as much as the government can provide as one of the reasons why even the head of PAGASA is on indefinite leave, and reported to have accepted a teaching position in Qatar. 

Philippine Weathermen Employees Association head Mon Agustin said Dr. Nathaniel Servando, head of the agency, is on indefinite leave.

The report said Servando cited health reasons when he left the Philippines in February.

Faced with such reality, Valte said the government continues to make efforts increase allowances of PAGASA’s weather forecasters.

“Their concerns, as of the moment, as to hazard and longevity [pay] are being reviewed by the DBM and, hopefully, we can  see some resolution to this as we’ve seen resolution in the issue of their subsistence allowance and laundry allowance in the past year,” Valte said. Patricia Denise Chiu/RSJ, GMA News

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