Pagasa decries belittling of its capability to handle NOAH
Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) - February 16, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - State weathermen cried foul Tuesday over criticisms that they are not competent to handle the work of Project NOAH, a P6.4-billion project started by the previous administration. 

NOAH stands for Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards. The project will end this month. 

“We don’t care if they want to be extended, but they should not do it at the expense of our forecasters’ capabilities,” Ramon Agustin, president of the Philippine Weathermen Employees Association (PWEA), said.

 Agustin claimed that supporters of Project NOAH were using social media to discredit the agency, which according to him is hurting the state weather forecasters. 

“Portraying PAGASA in the mainstream and social media as an incompetent agency has caused alarming resentment and demoralization among our employees,” he said. 

Project NOAH was launched by the Department of Science and Technology in 2011 and was supposed to be finished in 2015. It was extended until the end of the month. 

The project’s executive director Mahar Lagmay earlier lamented that the project had to be discontinued, saying many of its scientists would lose jobs. 

But PAGASA administrator Vicente Malano said Project NOAH was launch mainly to “enhance” what the weather bureau is already doing. 

“Project NOAH just projects and displays our output,” he said. 

Malano said the weather agency is willing to absorb some of the Project NOAH employees. 

However, he said he is not sure if NOAH workers are willing to accept lower wages given the hefty salaries they receive from the project. 

A Project NOAH employee reportedly receives a salary of up to P50,000 a month, almost double the salary of a state weather forecaster.

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