“When it rains, it pours,” as the saying goes. In the weeks that just passed, the southwest monsoon brought heavy rains that submerged various parts of Metro Manila and Luzon. While a number of low-pressure areas and tropical cyclones just breezed us and never actually entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR), aggravating habagat was enough to cause great trouble and distress to the people.Thanks to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) and the weather information they provide to ensure the health and safety of our people.
PAGASA which was established in December, 1972, is mandated to “provide protection against natural calamities and utilize scientific knowledge as an effective instrument to ensure the safety, well-being, and economic security of all the people, and for the promotion of national progress.” PAGASA is currently under the auspices of the Department of Science and Technology as one of its Scientific and Technological Services Institutes along with the Science and Technology Information Institute (STII) and Philvolcs, among others. PAGASA’s vision is to be the Center of Excellence for weather-related information and services, helping develop a disaster and climate-resilient nation. In order to hasten the achievement of this vision, I propose to transfer PAGASA to the Department of Disaster Management for the following
- PAGASA’s mandate is more aligned with the mandate of the Department of Disaster Management which is to ensure the protection of lives and properties in times of disasters and calamities.
- While PAGASA has been improved through the PAGASA Modernization Act of 2015, greater resources may still be allocated for the agency if placed under the Department of Disaster Management for the purchase of advance weather monitoring equipment, for capacity building of its personnel, for additional benefits and incentives for its employees, and for the establishment of more weather monitoring stations in the country.
- The information and data analysis that PAGASA provides will be crucial in the formulation of disaster management and climate change mitigation plans of the Department of Disaster Management. Hence, placing agency under the department will be beneficial from both ends.
Faithful to its agency acronym, PAGASA gives much hope in achieving a resilient Filipino nation. An informed population is already halfway to safety during times of calamities, distress, and emergencies. In the pursuit of communities that are educated and ready for disasters and catastrophes, information agencies such as PAGASA will form the backbone of our national disaster management and risk reduction advocacies.