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Solon preparing bill on incentives to expand PHL’s pool of weather scientists

ZAMBOANGA CITY INFO-OFFICE

A LAWMAKER is drafting a bill that will encourage more students to take up meteorology and other related science courses so that the Philippines can build up a stronger pool of experts.   

“The Philippines needs to invest in weather scientists as our country is prone to natural calamities causing billions in property and crop damages and thousands of lives lost,” Ang Probinsyano Party-list Rep. Alfred C. Delos Santos said in a statement on Sunday.    

The latest typhoon to hit the country last week, Tropical Storm Nalgae or locally known as Paeng, caused at least P7.38 billion in damage to infrastructure and the agricultural sector, based on the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council’s report as of Sunday.   

More than 4.6 million people have been affected with 156 people reported to have died.   

Calls for more government investments in state weather bureau PAGASA have been made in the wake of the losses and destruction.    

PAGASA, which stands for Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, is a part of the Department of Science and Technology.   

“Mastery of subject matter, language fluency, composure under pressure, and quick-thinking mind. These are what PAGASA needs in recruits,” Mr. Delos Santos said.   

Meanwhile, a climate change expert said there are pending bills that can address increasing threats and risks in the country.  

“There is a need to expedite bills to protect Filipinos from the onslaught of typhoons that will surely land on our shores,” Gerry C. Arcanes, executive director of Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED), told BusinessWorld over the weekend.  

He cited bills such as the National Land Use Act, Sustainable Forest Management Act, and the Alternative Minerals Management Act.  

“(The) National Land Use Act (can be used) to institutionalize a just, holistic & ethical planning for using and protecting our country’s land and water resources,” he said.  

The Sustainable Forest Management Act “aims to strengthen the management of Philippine forests and ensure its sustainability for the next generations through sustainable forest restoration and rehabilitation,” he said.  

The Alternative Minerals Management Act, on the other hand, “ushers in an alternative minerals regime that protects the environment and promotes the welfare of people,” he said. 

Mr. Arcanes also noted the need to protect the Verde Island Passage, which is the center of marine shore fish biodiversity that has become the “fossil gas hub of the country.”  

“There is also a need to overhaul EPIRA (Electric Power Industry Reform Act) to end yearly outages and issues of the power sector, efficient regulators, strict accountability mechanisms for inefficiency and abusive behaviors, and strong limitations on concentration and cross-ownership must be addressed,” he said. — Matthew Carl L. Montecillo and Kyanna Angela Bulan

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