Another weatherman leaves PAGASA for Qatar


Posted at May 27 2014 01:24 PM | Updated as of May 28 2014 12:27 AM

MANILA – Another employee of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has chosen to leave the Philippines for a better paying job abroad.

Philippine Weathermen Employees Association (PWEA) president Ramon Agustin said PAGASA weather observer 3 Christopher Galang is set to leave this coming June to work for the Qatar Bureau of Meteorology as an airport weather observer.

Agustin said Galang, who has been with the state weather bureau for over 20 years already, will join three other PAGASA employees in Qatar where the salary for a weatherman is said to be five to seven times bigger than what is being offered here.

PAGASA weather forecasters Bernie De Leon and Ralph Ricahuerta, and communications engineer Ralph Suquila resigned last week to work at the same agency.

Agustin said De Leon and Ricahuerta will both work as airport forecasters while Suquila will serve as a communications specialist.

Agustin said better pay and working conditions forced the PAGASA employees to leave the country. He said PAGASA has about 800 employees but only 13 of them are weather forecasters.

He said the resigned employees are a huge loss to PAGASA. He said De Leon was the pioneer of the rainfall warning system while Ricahuerta, who was assigned at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), was an expert at aviation meteorology.

Suquila was the one who handled the Doppler radar system and met satellite system, he said.

Agustin said other weathermen are being offered jobs in the Middle East but have so far refused to take the offers.

PAGASA has been beset by resignations as weather forecasters complain of small salaries as well as delayed release of benefits and allowances.

In the past 10 years, Agustin said about 25 veteran weather forecasters have left the agency and decided to work either in the Middle East or Australia where they are offered higher salaries.

Nathaniel Servando, PAGASA's former administrator, also quit his job in June last year.

PAGASA employees are now hoping for the passage of Senate Bill 1358 or the Act prescribing the hazard allowance of 30 percent of the monthly basic salary for all science and technology personnel in the government.

They believe the passage of the bill will help prevent the "brain drain" of science and technology professionals in the country. – report from Johnson Manabat, dzMM