THE local Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) welcomed the approval of House Bill (HB) 4397 or the bill seeking to modernize the agency, by the House of Representatives recently.

Pagasa Baguio Complex Station Chief Metrological Officer Engr. Hilario Esperanza explained it will mean upgrade of equipment, resources and operational techniques through state-of-the-art instruments and facilities and also an increase in the basic pay, allowances and benefits of the personnel subject to the approval of the President.

"Syempre 'pag maganda at upgraded yung equipment mo, tataas din yung accuracy ng data," he told Sun.Star Baguio highlighting it will help provide more reliable data in monitoring and forecasting of weather, flood and climate.

Surely, he noted the bill will help in the development of the field offices into technology-based and financially-self sufficient data centers.

Although the Pagasa Baguio Complex Station was never deprived of upgraded equipment and facilities, he said the most significant advantage of the bill to the office is most likely the increase in salary and a more immediate response from the central office when it comes to funding of projects.

For the weight of their duty, he said the salary is "not competitive" adding some personnel especially licensed engineers would rather seek for other job opportunities abroad.

He also shared their benefits such as the subsistence allowance, hazard pay and other benefits are sometimes given late.

But with the modernization of Pagasa, a new salary scale will be introduced consistent with the Magna Carta for Scientists, Engineers, Researchers and other Science and Technology personnel employed by the government.

Morever, the bill also aims to further create awareness about hazard threats through education and social media.

Esperanza expects the agency and its services will be strengthened at the time the modernization bill is implemented.