Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) personnel are crying foul over insinuations that the state weather bureau's forecasters will not be able to handle Project NOAH, which will be terminated by the end of February.
Project NOAH Executive Director Dr. Mahar Lagmay said in a recent interview that he doubts if PAGASA will be able to handle all the technical expertise developed by the project.
Project NOAH, or the Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards, is a collection of 20 disaster science research and development projects. It is credited with developing systems for mapping and forecasting floods, storm surges, landslides and other natural hazards.
Project NOAH will officially end its run on February 28 and is supposed to turn over its data and technologies to PAGASA.
"Kung matuloy sila, matuloy sila, wala kaming pakialam dun. Ang concern namin ay matuloy sila pero not at the expense of the PAGASA people at yung mga kakayahan ng mga forecasters namin," Ramon Agustin, president of the Philippine Weathermen Employees Association (PWEA), said in a press conference Tuesday.
(We do not care if Project NOAH will be extended. Our concern is if they want it to be extended, they should not do it at the expense of our forecasters' capabilities.)
"Huwag lang nila tatapakan ang PAGASA just to be there sa extension na kanilang hinahangad."
(They shouldn't step on PAGASA just to reach the extension they want.)
PAGASA administrator Vicente Malano belied PAGASA's supposed lack of competence to handle Project NOAH as most of the data projected on the platform are generated by the state weather bureau.
"Prinoproject at dinidisplay lang nila yung output ng PAGASA. Ang ginawa lang ng Project NOAH was enhance kung ano ang ginagawa ng PAGASA," Malano said.
(Project NOAH just projects and displays PAGASA's output. It just enhances what PAGASA has been doing.)
Malano said the state weather bureau is willing to absorb members of Project NOAH, provided they qualify for the vacancies at the agency.
"Welcome sa amin kung sino ang mag-apply pero it will go on screening kung sino lang ang qualified," Malano said.
Despite the offer, Lagmay earlier said that most of NOAH's 200-strong team may end up jobless as PAGASA only offered to absorb 15 people.
But Malano said the state weather bureau is eyeing to hire 500 people in the coming years as it expands its operations across the country.