3 Pagasa weather forecasters opt out, chose to work abroad

Pagasa building

Three more employees of the state weather bureau left Pagasa to seek better opportunities abroad.

Philippine Weathermen Employees Association (PWEA) President Ramon Agustin said weather forecasters Bernie De Leon and Ralph Ricahuerta, and communications engineer Ralph Suquila quit their jobs on Sunday to work at the Qatar Bureau of Meteorology.

Agustin said De Leon and Ricahuerta will work as airport forecasters while Suquila will serve as a communications specialist.

The three Pagasa employees have expressed their desire to quit their posts last year but decided to forego leaving as they were promised of benefits.

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

He said De Leon was the pioneer of the rainfall warning system while Ricahuerta, who was assigned at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), was an expert in aviation meteorology.

Suquila was the one who handled the Doppler radar system and MET satellite system, he said.

In the past 10 years, Agustin said over 20 veteran weather forecasters have left the agency and decided to work either in the Middle East or Australia where they are offered higher salaries.

DOST shrugs

The Department of Science and Technology, on the other hand, shrugged off the resignation of the three Pagasa employees, saying they have enough employees to cope with their resignation.

DOST Assistant Secretary Raymund Liboro said it is common that employees are leaving their oraganizations.

“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.

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