DOST chief to PAGASA weathermen: I have full trust in you

MANILA-- Amid reports that Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) weathermen feel they're being "discredited" or belittled to handle the Project NOAH, Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato Dela Pena clarified they have his full trust.

"I assure them I trust them completely, so I asked them not to fail me," Dela Pena told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

He added that the weathermen's sentiment is something that could not be avoided, as they are being compared to researchers from universities who developed the Project NOAH.

"Moreover, they feel that the public thinks PAGASA can't do it," Dela Pena said.

The DOST chief also clarified that the weathermen's sentiment is more likely due to the public's perception, and noted that it's not because of the DOST.

With regard to university researchers, Dela Pena said they only want to contribute more.

Project NOAH (Nationwide Assessment of Hazards) is the Philippine government's flagship program in disaster preparedness and mitigation, aiming to provide lead time warning against all possible floods and landslides.

It was first launched in 2012, and will be extended until end of Feb. 2017. After that, Project NOAH operations will be transferred to PAGASA.

"Project NOAH is a completed project, and operations will be transferred to PAGASA. During the transition period, there will be job opportunities in PAGASA that are related to forecasting," remarked Dela Pena.

The Philippine Weathermen Employees Association (PWEA) earlier said a certain group is trying to discredit PAGASA -- saying it doesn't have the capacity to handle Project NOAH since PAGASA lacks the capability to provide accurate weather forecasts.

PWEA also pointed out that Project NOAH Executive Director Alfredo Mahar Lagmay had expressed doubts that PAGASA will be able to handle all the technical expertise in the project.

In an email sent to PNA, Lagmay shared that there are 20 projects under NOAH and extended NOAH programs.

In his official statement, Lagmay said the entire program cannot be transferred as a whole because it is run by many institutions and agencies.

"The responsibility of sharing the outputs of the 20 programs to PAGASA is with the respective project leaders," he said.

"To transfer all of them or even parts of them would be too much to ask for PAGASA because of the volume of work and manpower needed to operate all of the 20 projects are fully multidisciplinary," Lagmay said. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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