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Pagasa chief quits, becomes OFW

Thursday, June 20, 2013
By Helen Flores | 484 Views

Administrator Nathaniel Servando of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administrator (PAGASA) has resigned from the weather bureau, reportedly to teach in Qatar for a much higher pay.

Vicente Malano, PAGASA’s deputy administrator for operations and services, said Servando had availed himself of the government’s optional retirement scheme after serving the agency for 23 years.

Malano is currently the officer-in-charge of PAGASA.

“I received a text message from Dr. Servando at about 7:40 p.m. (on Tuesday) addressed to me, Noy and Flavi (referring to the other PAGASA deputy administrators Catalino Davis and Flaviano Hilario),” Malano said during a press conference for the observance of Typhoon and Flood Awareness Week.

“This is to inform you I have decided to optionally retire and leave PAGASA. I already submitted a letter to (Science) Secretary (Mario) Montejo,” Malano said, quoting Servando.

PAGASA is an attached agency of the Department of Science and Technology.

Malano said Servando extended his gratitude to all his colleagues in PAGASA.

“Thanks for all your support. Certainly, I will miss your company,” Servando was quoted by Malano as saying.

Servando, 48, was appointed administrator of PAGASA in February 2011.

He also served as the agency’s deputy administrator for operations and services, a position he assumed since September 2010.

Servando became PAGASA’s deputy administrator for research and development in February 2004.

He was employed as weather specialist in January 1990, became the agency’s senior weather specialist in October 2000, and acting chief of the PAGASA’s Weather Forecasting Section in August 2002.

PAGASA’s public information office chief Venus Valdemoro said Servando has accepted a teaching job in Qatar, earning P600,000 a month.

Gloria Cruz, head of the PAGASA’s human resource department, said a weather observer receives a gross monthly salary of P16,051 to P17,209 plus a monthly allowance of P2,000.

Meanwhile, a meteorologist receives a gross monthly salary of P24,887 to P26,868 with a monthly allowance of P2,000.

As administrator, Servando received a gross salary of P68,428 plus P2,000 allowance a month.

Malano, who has been serving the weather agency for the last 31 years, said as deputy administrator he receives a salary ranging from P63,000 to P64,000.

Montejo earlier told The STAR that Servando cited the need for a higher salary to finance his children’s college education in filing his leave.

Servando’s wife, who is a teacher by profession, is not employed and is running a sari-sari store in their house, according to Valdemoro.

“He opted to have that less stressful work with higher salary,” Malano said.

Malano, however, said that the weather agency still has enough manpower to provide the public with timely and accurate weather forecasts.

He said the agency has recently trained 22 new weather specialists, while 10 of their employees have already completed their master’s degrees in meteorology.

“It’s one against 30 something, so I think it (Servando’s departure) will not significantly affect the performance of the agency,” Malano said.

He, however, hopes that whoever will be the next administrator will understand the work and the field.

A number of seasoned weather forecasters have left the country for greener pastures abroad in the past 10 years.

Earlier, Ramon Agustin, president of the PAGASA’s Weathermen Employees Association (PWEA), called on the government to include the benefits contained in the Magna Carta for Science and Technology workers in the General Appropriation Act to avert the exodus of more weather forecasters to other countries that are offering higher salaries.

Malacañang officials confirmed the PAGASA chief’s resignation and expressed gratitude for his service.

“We thank him for his service to the country and wish him well in his future endeavors,” said Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office Secretary Ricky Carandang.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma said, “We respect Director Servando’s decision to pursue an alternative career path (and) we thank him for his long years of dedicated public service.” - With Aurea Calica

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