The provincial government is considering plans to beef up the personnel of the local field office of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) to help the agency during cases of natural weather disturbances, following Palawan’s experience facing three successive storms since December.
Provincial Information Officer Gil Acosta, Jr. said they have considered the plan with the idea of helping the agency quickly respond to local needs during weather-related emergencies.
“We realized na si sir Sonny (Pajarilla, chief of PAGASA-Palawan) ay iisa lang kaya ang kailangan natin mayroon dapat rapid information sa mga tao,” Acosta said.
Provincial Administrator Atty. Joshua Bolusa said the provincial government will shoulder the salary of the additional PAGASA personnel, who will also have the technical qualifications for the position.
“Our idea is provincial government sana ang magpapasweldo and have to take consideration on knowing how the salary and we will propose that,” Bolusa said.
Asked to comment on the proposal, Pajarilla, however, said they have adequate manpower to perform the agency’s tasks.
“We have enough warm bodies here in PAGASA. Nagkataon lang na nagkasunod-sunod ang bagyo, at pati patawag na meeting din,” Pajarilla said.
Pajarilla proposed instead that the provincial government can help them by passing a resolution that would persuade the national state weather bureau to fill up four of seven plantilla positions in Palawan.
“Right now, apat ang filled up pa lang out of seven plantilla positions kasama na ako. We need three more to be assigned sa Palawan. Yon lang ang kailangan,” he stated further.
Since they are not receiving representation and transportation allowance (RATA) under their salary grades, Pajarilla said, the provincial government can help provide this as it is allowed.
“Wala kaming natatanggap na RATA kaya dito matutulungan nila kami. Kapag tinatawag ako ng meeting, ako ang gumagastos pa. Maliit lang din suweldo namin,” he added.
Meanwhile, Acosta said the impact of Vinta on the remote island of Mangsee in Balabac has also prompted them to implement a plan to put up a radio communication facility on the island. Mangsee is not covered by any of the country’s two main telecommunications companies, and local residents utilize a signal coming from the Malaysian company.
“Para naman hindi Malaysian sim ‘yong gamit ng ating mga kababayan doon. Kahit ‘yong satelite phone kapag maulap doon ay walang mode of communication,” he said.
Acosta said the procurement of a radio communication system for Mangsee and other isolated areas of Palawan is already in the pipeline.
“Napapadali na ang ating procurement lalo na sa Mangsee, sa mga island municipalities at doon sa mga hindi inaabot na radio at cellphone,” he said.