PAGASA hopes to make 5 regional centers fully operational in 2-3 yrs

November 17, 2009 3:27 pm 

By Loretta Allarey-Paje

MANILA, Nov. 17 – The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said over the weekend that its regionalization program was ongoing and it hoped to complete the project within two to three years.

PAGASA Administrator Dr. Prisco Nilo on Sunday told the Philippines News Agency at the sidelines of the three-day 15th DOST-PAGASA media seminar-workshop held at the San Roque Dam in San Manuel, Pangasinan, that the five regional centers already established by the state weather bureau were now operational, but still needed to enhance its human resources and equipment.

Asked if they planned to put up a center in each of the country’s 17 regions, he said, the five existing are enough to complement their central operations in Quezon City.

On the other hand, Nathaniel A. Cruz, officer-in-charge of PAGASA’s Operations and Services department, told the seminar participants that their regional centers are located in: Tuguegarao City and Legazpi City for Luzon; Cebu for Visayas; El Salvador City in Misamis Oriental for Northern Mindanao and Davao for the Southern Mindanao region.

He noted they have local forecasters in these centers, who can make modifications in their reports, such as mentioning specific provinces of locations that would be in the pathway of a typhoon.

However, Cruz stressed that any modification in a regional center’s forecast must be relayed to the central office to avoid confusion by the public.

Lilibeth Gonzales, chief of PAGASA’s Finance division, said in the same seminar-workshop that the state weather bureau's approved budget for 2010 was P615 million, which was significantly lower than the P767-million allocation for the current year.

Nilo, while lamenting the decreased budget for his agency, expressed optimism that financial assistance from other countries such as Japan, the United States and Norway would keep them afloat. (PNA) LDV/LAP

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