Latest Stories


Storm brewing at Pagasa


The acronym of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration is Pagasa.

Pagasa is the Filipino word for hope.

But right now, Pagasa doesn’t hold out hope for the agency’s weather experts, if we go by the word of a source.

There is demoralization in the ranks at what was formerly known as the Weather Bureau, said the source, an insider at the agency.

The problem, according to the source, is Secretary Mario Montejo of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the agency’s mother department.

The source said Montejo was the reason why at least three administrators of Pagasa have left one after the other: Prisco Nilo, Graciano Yumol and, most recently, Nathaniel Servando.

Nilo, a doctor in meteorology, left after he was reassigned to a lesser post as a consequence of a wrong forecast of a typhoon that hit Metro Manila in 2011.

“But weather forecasting is not an exact science. Sometimes, meteorologists make mistakes in plotting a typhoon’s path,” said the source.

Yumol, who holds a Ph.D in science, and Servando, who had been with Pagasa for 28 years, reportedly left because of  a misunderstanding with Montejo.

Nilo, Yumol and Servando are expert meteorologists who loved their jobs but left with a heavy heart, said the source.

Subordinate meteorologists are planning to follow the former agency heads.

Another top meteorologist, Nathaniel Cruz, deputy administrator for operations, has gone on terminal leave.

Training meteorologists takes time—about one year of intensive theoretical and on-the-job study within the agency.

“Montejo oppresses (‘mapang-api’ is the word he used—RT) people. He acts on whimsy and doesn’t know how to handle subordinates,” said the source.

The DOST head reassigns officials and employees in Pagasa on the mere say-so of businessmen-friends who frequent his office, said the source.

Montejo’s friends are allegedly lobbying for a portion of Project Noah, a billion-peso project designed to upgrade the agency’s equipment.

Montejo, who is a brother-in-law of a Malacañang official, is an engineer and inventor.

* * *

Investwell Minerals Development Corp., which has been criticized in this space, writes to refute the charges I made in a previous column.

For the sake of fairness and objectivity, here are Investwell’s answers to the charges:

“1) The company involved is Investwell Resources Inc. (IRI). Investwell Minerals Development Corp. is a different company.

“2) What was approved by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) was a deed of assignment of the Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) of another company, Trans-Asia.

“This is not yet a permit for the large-scale mining operations we intend to go into.

“3)  The accusation that our principal, Mr. Yii Ann Hii, was barred by (the late) Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo from operating in Bicol is a fabrication.

“4)  The accusation that Mr. Yii has been charged with “theft of minerals” refers to Marinduque, and not Bicol.

“It is a misrepresentation of his attempts to revive mining in Marinduque, and not Bicol. No mining was done. No ore was shipped out.”

This columnist would like to have the last word: I have documents showing that my accusations against Investwell are valid.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

More from this Column:

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: column , Investwell , Metro , Pagasa , Ramon Tulfo

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. Opinions split on Napoles turning state witness
  3. Delfin Lee: Blame Pag-Ibig, not me
  4. Plunder complaint filed vs PNP chief, firearms office head over license delivery deal
  5. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  6. San Juan cops fail to arrest Cedric Lee
  7. More ‘Yolanda’ bodies found
  8. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  9. Lawyer: Napoles ‘will tell all’
  10. Boy ‘sexually assaulted’ at Indonesia international school
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  3. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  4. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  5. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  6. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  7. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  8. Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  9. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  10. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  9. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
  10. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima


  • What Went Before: Malacañang allies alleged involvement in pork scam
  • Timeline: Napoles tell-all
  • 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  • Napoles surgery in Makati hospital successful
  • Save the queen? Aide takes fall for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  • Sports

  • Mixers trim Aces; Painters repulse Bolts
  • Donaire junks Garcia as coach, taps father
  • ’Bye Ginebra: No heavy heart this time
  • UAAP board tackles new rules
  • Baguio climb to decide Le Tour de Filipinas
  • Lifestyle

  • The best flavors of summer in one bite, and more
  • Homemade yogurt, bread blended with pizza, even ramen
  • Visiting chefs from Denmark get creative with ‘ube,’ ‘ buko,’ ‘calamansi,’ mangoes
  • Salted baked potatoes
  • A first in a mall: Authentic Greek yogurt–made fresh in front of diners
  • Entertainment

  • Return of ‘Ibong Adarna’
  • Practical Phytos plans his future
  • In love … with acting
  • From prison to the peak of success
  • ‘Asedillo’ location thrives
  • Business

  • This time, BIR goes after florists
  • Philippine Airlines to stop shipment of shark fins
  • PH banks not ready for Asean integration
  • Stocks down on profit-taking
  • Banks allowed to use ‘cloud’
  • Technology

  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Bam Aquino becomes Master Splinter’s son after Wiki hack
  • Mark Caguioa lambasts Ginebra teammates on Twitter
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • PH seeks ‘clearer assurance’ from US
  • China and rivals sign naval pact to ease maritime tensions
  • What Went Before: Manila bus hostage crisis
  • Obama arrives in Tokyo, first stop of 4-nation tour
  • Believe it or not: Filipinos love US more than Yanks
  • Marketplace