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Mass exodus of Pinoy scientists bared

Posted On 2014 Jun 04
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PHL’s best minds leaving for abroad

President Benigno S. Aquino III looks at a lab worker during a visit at the production and training facilities of Alliance Mansols, Inc at the Laguna Technopark in Biñan City, Laguna during the visit to Alliance Mansols, Inc. last May 1. Government officials warned that there has been a “brain drain” the Advanced Science and Technology Institute as well as at the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) (MNS photo).

President Benigno S. Aquino III looks at a lab worker during a visit at the production and training facilities of Alliance Mansols, Inc at the Laguna Technopark in Biñan City, Laguna during the visit to Alliance Mansols, Inc. last May 1. Government officials warned that there has been a “brain drain” the Advanced Science and Technology Institute as well as at the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) (MNS photo).

MANILA (Mabuhay) – Employees of other science and technology agencies, not just PAGASA, are also leaving for better opportunities abroad, a Department of Science and Technology (DOST) official admitted during a Senate hearing Tuesday.

DOST Assistant Secretary Oswaldo Santos said he particularly observed the “brain drain” at the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) and the Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI).

Nangyayari rin ito sa iba’t-ibang ahensya tulad ng PHIVOLCS and some others in ASTI because of the temptation being offered by other countries for higher paying jobs,” Santos told the Senate committee on science and technology on Tuesday.

“You can’t really blame our science and technology personnel because of the need to support their families, but we assure this committee that the department is doing is best in giving benefits to its personnel,” Santos said.

Dr. Vicente Malano, PAGASA officer-in-charge, meanwhile told the Senate panel that 35 of their personnel, mostly forecasters, have gone abroad since 2005.

Nagkakaroon po talaga kami ng problema, particularly sa forecasters,” Malano said when asked by Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto if there is indeed “brain drain” in the state weather bureau.

Recto asked DOST officials to submit official figures on employees that have left the department for better opportunities abroad.

Last month, four meteorologists left PAGASA for work in Qatar.

The  Philippine Weathermen Employees Association (PWEA) said PAGASA personnel have not received their hazard pays for six months now.

Standard hazard pay

During the hearing, Santos attributed delays in the release of hazard pays to PAGASA employees to bureaucratic processes.

DOST agencies are required to submit reports on the level of risks and the amount of time their employees were exposed to hazards before the funds are released, Santos said.

“Considering that it is called hazard pay, naturally, binibigay mo iyan if may hazard,” the DOST official said.

To expedite the release of benefits, Santos proposed that science and technology employees be given standard hazard pays.

“We would most welcome the bill which seeks peg hazard pay for science and technology personnel to across-the-board 30 percent. That may solve problem on brain drain,” he said.

Recto agreed to Santos’ proposal, and even suggested giving more allowances to DOST personnel. (MNS)

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