Party-list legislator says the government must be able convince high school students to take up meteorology and Earth sciences for their courses in college, and consider the same as their career path to address the personnel shortage problem of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).
Rep. Alfred Delos Santos of Ang Probinsyano party-list group said he intends to file a measure that would grant incentives to schools and students of meteorological sciences.
“The Philippines, being prone to natural calamities that cause billions (of pesos) in property and crop damage and thousands of lives lost, so the incentives would be worth the investment,” the solon said in a statement.
Delos Santos said the shortage of personnel in PAGASA “is a supply chain issue considering that most Filipino high school students from the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) strand usually prefer becoming doctors, engineers, accountants, geologists, chemists, and physicists, among others.”
“PAGASA’s dire need for many new personnel is a difficult problem to solve. Meteorologists are in high demand in the private sector and overseas. In fact, PAGASA has lost some of its experts to those greener pastures,” Delos Santos said.
Delos Santos said not only PAGASA needs weather scientists, but also local governments to be more proactive against storms, monsoons, tornadoes, and storm surges.
“Mayors and governors, unfortunately, do not have scientists by their side who would give them the right advice when they are about to face natural calamities,” he said.
Delos Santos proposed “one quick way for PAGASA to have new weather specialists is to convince those who are already in science programs in college to switch to meteorology.”
He said there are only four state universities offering meteorology programs: Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) in Batac, Ilocos Norte; Visayas State University in Baybay, Leyte; Central Luzon State University (CLSU) in Muñoz, Nueva Ecija; and Bicol University (BU) in Legazpi, Albay.