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AGHAM-Samahan ng Nagtataguyod ng Agham at

Teknolohiya para sa Sambayanan
(Advocates of Science and Technology for the People)

PRESS STATEMENT
August 7, 2010

Politicization of PAGASA will not solve its problems
The removal of Dr. Prisco Nilo as director of the PAGASA due to “differences” with his
“immediate superior” shows that the current government would rather fire the messsenger than
upgrade the bureau's capacity to prepare for typhoons and disasters.

If government continues to blame the scientists instead of providing funds to upgrade their
measurements, the brain drain that has gone on for so long will be difficult to reverse.

Patriotic scientists who have opted to stay on despite low wages, general lack of research and
development funds and local opportunities will be driven off instead of being useful to national
development.

Nilo becomes President Benigno Aquino 3rd's scapegoat for the National Disaster Coordinating
Council (NDCC) and his government's being unable to respond correctly to the recent typhoon.

Dr. Nilo's removal was some three weeks after Aquino publicly scolded the weather bureau for
failing to predict that typhoon Basyang would pass over Metro Manila. Saying that Nilo "never
really bothered to explain" why Typhoon Basyang moved in a different direction shows how the
president and the NDCC understands typhoon preparedness.

There are two sides to this coin. The first requires us to understand the nature of typhoons.
Typhoons are really large masses of air that are spinning and moving over land and sea. Much like a
spinning top will be affected by the surface it is moving on, typhoons can change course depending
on the local conditions of its landfall and other nearby weather systems. The predicted course given
by PAGASA is obtained from an initial prediction from mathematical models which is then updated
to take into account possible changes. The bulletins are then corrected and reissued every six hours.
The predicted course is thus useful within the accuracy and precision that their models and updates
can give.

One should only expect accuracy within the capability of the measuring device. To require more
from PAGASA, the president should have asked what equipment and human resources is needed
instead of putting blame on its department head.

In preparing for a typhoon, especially one that is covering a large area and strong winds, it is
therefore not just a matter of alerting one region but ramping up the disaster readiness for the
adjoining regions and cities as well. If PAGASA has pointed out that Central Luzon will be along
the main path of the typhoon earlier in the day, the NDCC could have been prudent enough to alert
Metro Manila and adjoining areas as well.
ITAGUYOD ANG AGHAM AT TEKNOLOHIYA PARA SA SAMBAYANAN!
P.O.Box 268 Araneta Center Cubao 1135 Quezon City Philippines
Telephone: +63 2 4343173  E-mail: info@agham.org  URL: www.agham.org
AGHAM-Samahan ng Nagtataguyod ng Agham at
Teknolohiya para sa Sambayanan
(Advocates of Science and Technology for the People)

NDCC should have been more proactive in asking for updates instead of waiting for PAGASA to
update their bulletin. PAGASA can tap the wealth of information that is available from nearby
countries and websites to add to their models and predictions to generate more frequent bulletins.
Government should fully tap the potential of local scientific community by providing more research
and development funds, better opportunities and jobs as well as adequate compensation. One way to
do this is to embark on a program to build local industries for domestic production where our
scientists and engineers can fully realize their skills.

REFERENCE:
Dr. Giovanni Tapang, 0927.5736714
Ms. Catherine Abon, 0920.8406054

ITAGUYOD ANG AGHAM AT TEKNOLOHIYA PARA SA SAMBAYANAN!
P.O.Box 268 Araneta Center Cubao 1135 Quezon City Philippines
Telephone: +63 2 4343173  E-mail: info@agham.org  URL: www.agham.org