The weather bureau PAGASA on Thursday said four of its doppler radars were damaged by the recent typhoons that battered the country.
PAGASA administrator Dr. Vicente Malano said the four radars that are no longer functioning are stationed in Basco, Batanes; Virac, Catanduanes; Tampakan, South Cotabato; and Iloilo City.
He said the bureau is currently using 15 doppler radars.
“Ang alam ko lang ay apat eh. Yung Basco hindi gumagana, Yung Virac hindi talaga gumagana, Tampakan hindi rin, tsaka yung Iloilo. Yun yung apat na alam kong hindi gumagana,” he said in a radio interview.
(There are four damaged radars in Basco, Virac, Tampakan and Iloilo.)
Malano said the doppler radars can detect the amount of rain and strength of the wind.
“Ang doppler radar ay nakikita natin yung lakas ng hangin at saka yung amount ng ulan. Makikita po natin yung amount ng ulan kahit nasa 400 kilometers pa lang magmula nung sa station. Pag lumapit na yan 240 kilometers na lang, yung lakas ng hangin pwede na natin tignan so yun yung kahalagahan ng mga radar natin,” he said.
(The doppler radar allows us to see the strength of the wind and then the amount of rain. We can see the amount of rain even if it is still 400 kilometers away. When it gets closer, some 240 kilometers away, we can see the strength of the wind, so that’s the importance of our radars.)
He said the doppler radar in Basco, Batanes was not repaired due to funding issues.
The PAGASA official said the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released funds to continue the repair of the doppler radar in Basco, Batanes.
He added that they were coordinating with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for the repair of doppler radar in Virac, Catanduanes.
For the radar in Tampakan, Malano said they are studying transferring it in Cotabato City.
“Nakikita po natin sa paghahanap ng pwesto kung saan natin ilalagay ay doon sa Cotabato City maganda rin doon ilalagay kaya lang dapat yung hindi binabaha dahil alam natin yung Cotabato area alam nating binabahang lugar doon. Sa ngayon pinagaaralan kung saan Cotabato City ilagay yun sa Tampakan,” he said.
(We are looking for a place to transfer it in Cotabato City. It is good to put it in an area where there is no flooding. Right now it is being studied where the Tampakan radar will be transferred in Cotabato City area.)
Meanwhile, he said the weather bureau is in talks with the DBM for an additional budget to hire at least 700 more personnel.
He said that at least four to five personnel were needed in one station.
“Actually [meron] kaming request na more than 700 pa eh, 700 na tao dahil 24/7 ang trabaho natin. Kung halimbawa sa isang station 24/7 at least mangangailangan ka ng apat hanggang limang tao,” he said.
(Actually we have a request for more than 700 people, 700 people because we work 24/7. If for example in a station where work is 24/7, you need at least four to five people.)
Due to shortage of employees, Malano said the current personnel are alternating to make use of the radars.
“Yung ating mga istasyon ngayon meron tayong tao na isa lang, tapos humuhugot tayo doon sa ibang mga ibang mga opisina para, matauhan lang, mapatakbo lang ang ating mga radar,” he said.
(Each station is currently manned by only one person, then we get men from other offices to operate the radars.)
“So, ngayon kamukha lang ng Cebu at Bohol ano, dalawang radar yan, nagpapalitan sila kung sino yung pagaganahin, imbes na parehong paganahin. Ginagawa natin ng paraan yan para lang magampanan yung ating trabaho na hindi naman malagay sa alanganin yung ating mga kababayan,” he added.
(Like in Cebu and Bohol, there are two radars, but we operate them alternately instead of having two in operation. We try as much as we can to do our duty to keep our people out of harm’s way.)—LDF, GMA News