Noynoy, don’t attack PAGASA if you can’t give them sufficient funding – Anakbayan
Youth group Anakbayan criticized President Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino today for scolding PAGASA over the latter’s apparent failure in correctly predicting the path of Typhoon Basyang.
PAGASA, or the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, is the government agency responsible for tracking the 20 or so typhoons which strike the country on average every year. It is also tasked with informing other gov’t institutions, as well as the public, about the progress of the typhoons and its possible effects.
In a press conference yesterday however, Aquino lashed at PAGASA for predicting that the typhoon would mainly hit the Northern and Central Luzon regions, when its main body of strength actually hit Metro Manila and some parts of the Southern Tagalog region.
“In no part of the world is there a 100% accurate weather-prediction agency or system. It would be unfair, not to mention highly unscientific, for Noynoy to demand something similar from our PAGASA” said Anakbayan national vice-chairperson Anton Dulce.
He said “We will be the first to concede that PAGASA’s performance could use a lot of improvement. However, they can’t do that with barya-barya (loose change)”.
The youth leader quoted Ronald Flores of the Office of Civil Defense, who said that only 2 or 3 out of the 12 minimum required ‘doppler radars’ of PAGASA are operational. The former also said that the P2 billion allotted to the agency was insufficient for improving its operations.
Doppler radars are used by meteorologists to measure the wind speed of storms.
“The lack of doppler radars is reflective of the general state of our weather service. It is under-funded and under-equipped. It is a double-whammy for the President to expect from them something which better-funded and better-equipped services aren’t able to do” said Dulce.
He challenged Aquino to increase the PAGASA’s budget, as well as other social services, and suggested that he acquire the funds by scrapping the president’s proposed modernization program for the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
“Instead of funding guns, bullets, and a gov’t service that kills civilians, why not fund one that saves hundreds and even thousands of lives every year?” said Dulce.
He added “Since the weather service can’t be totally accurate, it would be good to increase our country’s preparedness to such calamities. Last year’s Ondoy and Pepeng exposed how unprepared we are, and it would be a mistake not to learn from those experiences”.