Weathermen in training for Pagasa vacanciesBy TJ Burgonio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The weather bureau is training 28 weather specialists 1 to fill vacancies created by the departure of forecasters for better paying jobs abroad. It is still short three trainees.
The vacancies accumulated over the years with the departure of both new and veteran forecasters for other parts of Asia, the Middle East and Australia where the pay offered was up to five times more.
“If there are opportunities, they leave. The pay abroad is big, often it’s five times higher,” said Flaviana Hilario, deputy administrator of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) research and development division, in an interview. “Most of those who left [went] abroad.”
Twenty-two weather forecasters and observers quit their jobs at Pagasa between 2005 and 2011. As of June 4, there were 31 vacancies for weather specialist 1.
There are at least three vacancies in the forecasting division, where forecasters work around the clock monitoring Philippine weather.
The trainees will complete 900 hours of training in basic meteorology by the end of the month and will undergo on-the-job training between August and September, Hilario said.
If they pass the training, they will be posted to the weather or flood forecasting division in Quezon City or to weather stations in the region, she said.
A senior weather specialist 1, the lowest rank, receives a base pay of P24,800 and benefits amounting to around P6,000. The total monthly pay is more than P30,000, said Pagasa human resources division chief Gloria Cruz.
“Before our only competition was PAL (Philippine Airlines),” Hilario said referring to the country’s flag carrier that used to recruit Pagasa forecasters for its own meteorological needs.