Gov’t urged to reallocate intel fund as weather bureau faces budget cuts

November 4, 2022 - 4:19 PM
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A mother and a child wade through a flooded street following heavy rains brought by Tropical Storm Nalgae, in Kawit, Cavite province, Philippines, Oct. 30, 2022 (REUTERS/Lisa Marie David)

A group of scientists expressed concern over the proposed lowered 2023 budget for the state weather bureau. 

The Department of Budget and Management allocated  P1.142 billion for Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) in next year’s proposed budget, which is lower than this year’s P1.385 billion budget.

“Long before the Typhoon Paeng disaster, the government knew that our Disaster Risk Reduction Management (DRRM) needed significant improvement,” Advocates of Science and Technology for the People (AGHAM) said

“With the increasing threats of climate change, President Marcos Jr said that this is included in his top priorities. Yet he cuts the budget on departments that address this issue, we are slapped in our face by the inutility of this regime to increase their intelligence and confidential funds,” the group continued. 

According to a report of Philstar.com, DBM did not allocate funds for PAGASA’s capital outlay, which refers to appropriations spent for infrastructure and equipment.

“We have had no capital outlay for two years. How can we build new stations? How can we buy new equipment that is needed if we don’t have it?” said Jose Daniel Suarez, PAGASA’s Financial, Planning and Management Division chief administrative officer. 

He said that the weather bureau’s proposed budget for maintenance and other operating expenses has also been slashed. 

On the other hand, AGHAM also noted the declining budget of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the agency that handles PAGASA. 

For 2023, DOST requested for P22.17 billion budget, but it was reduced to P24.06 billion, AGHAM said. 

 “So if we are asking where the government’s response fell short, it is rooted in the declining budget allocation of the department,” the group said. 

The group urged the government “to rechannel its billions of pesos of intelligence budget to PAGASA and other DRRM concerned agencies.”

“President Marcos Jr. should put money where his mouth is,” the group said. 

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