DOST shrugs off PAGASA weathermen's resignation

Posted at 05/20/2014 8:52 PM | Updated as of 05/20/2014 8:53 PM

MANILA - State weather bureau PAGASA has enough employees to cope with the latest resignation of 3 weathermen, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said Tuesday.

DOST Assistant Secretary Raymund Liboro, in a press statement coursed through Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma, said it is common for organizations to have resignations.

"Personnel movements are common in every organization. The number of weathermen in PAGASA is sufficient, with more meteorologists expected to come in as a result of our academic programs," he said.

"We respect personal decisions. PAGASA benefits has never been better as the President has institutionalized all PAGASA benefits, the first chief executive to do so. Lastly, weather forecasting is about teamwork and the DOST's bench is deep," Liboro added.

PAGASA weather forecasters Bernie De Leon and Ralph Ricahuerta, and communications engineer Ralph Suquila resigned last Sunday to work at the Qatar Bureau of Meteorology, according to Philippine Weathermen Employees Association (PWEA) president Ramon Agustin.

Agustin said the 3 expressed desire to quit their posts as early as last year, but decided to forego their plans after PAGASA promised them they will already be given their benefits.

But six months have passed, and they have yet to receive their hazard pay. Their longevity pay and subsistence allowance, meanwhile, are also expected to be given only in June.

Agustin said de Leon was the pioneer of the rainfall warning system while Ricahuerta was an expert in aviation meteorology.

Suquila, meanwhile, handled the Doppler radar system and MET satellite system, he said.

Four more weathermen are reportedly being offered jobs in the Middle East.

PAGASA has been beset by resignations as weather forecasters complain of small salaries as well as delayed release of benefits and allowances. -- Reports from Zhander Cayabyab, dzMM; Pia Gutierrez and RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News