Honors sought for 3 Pagasa workers who faced ‘Yolanda’ wrath

For standing their ground during the onslaught of Super Typhoon “Yolanda,” three weather bureau workers stationed in Tacloban City, including one who remains missing, will be honored by the House of Representatives.

The employees of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) are to be commended for not abandoning their posts when Yolanda (international name Haiyan) pummeled the city in November 2013, according to the House science and technology committee.

The panel has approved and submitted for plenary consideration a resolution praising Pagasa chief meteorological officer Mario Penaranda, and weather observers Romeo Elvina and Salvacion Avestruz for “loyalty to their oath of office and dedication to duty.”

Penaranda and Elvina were wounded at the height of the storm and were rescued days after Yolanda struck the coastal areas of Leyte and neighboring Samar on Nov. 8.

Avestruz has not been found.

The last time the Pagasa central office had heard from Avestruz was on Nov. 8 at about 5 a.m. after she sent out data from the Tacloban weather station at the airport terminal, the Pagasa employees union said.

The station was destroyed after a storm surge hit the airport, and Avestruz was swept away by the waves.

“The three employees reported to their work to provide weather updates despite the imminent threat of the typhoon, which was estimated to make a strong land fall in Leyte and Samar,” said Marinduque Rep. Regina Ongsiako Reyes, principal author of House Resolution 2001.

The lawmaker said Congress should commend the heroism and bravery of Penaranda, Elvina and Avestruz for standing their ground in spite of the dangers from the typhoon.

“While we are experiencing the dangers from the recent Typhoon “Dodong,” the officers and employees of Pagasa are in their posts monitoring the path of the typhoon day and night,” Reyes said.

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