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Mayor Aleli-3

Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) Administrator Dr. Vicente Malano shares his views on how the agency gives hope to the Filipino people.




In recent years, the Philippines has experienced the effects of climate change with stronger typhoons
and multiple natural calamities, putting the lives of Filipinos at great risk. With the phenomenon
bound to continue, the information that the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA),provides becomes increasingly important. As PAGASA administrator
Dr. Vicente Malano puts it, “Our work is tantamount to the protection of lives and properties.” For Dr. Malano, the crucial role of the agency in dealing with natural disasters, such as typhoons, is inevitable; when natural disasters happen, people look to information providers like PAGASA, and the agency
strives to be competent enough to provide what is needed.

Dr. Malano, who became PAGASA’s head in 2013, has logged over 37 years of service with the agency and is continuing so to this day. However, like most people in the industry, his humble beginnings wasn’t as easy. He recalls, “I joined PAGASA through the training program, the in-house training program
in 1981-’82. So I was accepted as one of the members or the employees of PAGASA in 1982 after
the training. The training was a meteorologist training course. Before you enter PAGASA, you should undergo this training program.” After staying for two years, he passed the qualifying exam in the University of the Philippines (UP) to get his Masteral Degree in Meteorology, and soon
after, his PhD.

It can be said that Dr. Malano really worked his way up the ranks. After training in 1981, I started as a meteorologist. Meteorologist 1 and 2. Then the position was renamed to weather specialist but it was essentially the same.” In 2010, he headed the National Capital Region Division and went on to be the deputy of operations. After former administrator Nathaniel Serbando stepped down in 2013, Dr. Malano was the clear choice to be PAGASA executive.

To the public, the task sounds simple, “Run PAGASA well and oversee PAGASA on how you’re going to manage its operations,” but what PAGASA is here for is very crucial. When it comes to information concerning natural disasters such as typhoons, “Lahat ay recipient ng information na meron kami.” (Everyone is a recipient of the information we have.) ”Dr. Malano would like to believe that PAGASA
is not remiss, saying that it is an agency that puts primacy in information for its services. “From data collection, processing, then dissemination of information, warning. Then coordinating with other agencies
like local government units (LGUs) for disaster prevention, climate projection, and complementary to the services of other departments.”

He envisions PAGASA in partnership with other government agencies, LGUs, and global partners in disseminating the information the agency gathers. “Dapat magiging kaakibat o ka-partner nga in terms of disseminating our information kasi kahit na gaano pa kaayos ang iyong forecasting kung hindi naman naintindihan ang information mo, wala rin,” (They should be our affiliates or partners in terms of disseminating our information because even though we are efficient at forecasting if the information cannot be understood, it will be useless,)” Malano says.

“The coordination of agencies is important because people look to PAGASA and other information providers such as Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS)” to counter the
increasing risks brought about by natural disasters. Dr. Malano believes that the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 is a huge boost for his vision. “The act gave a clear-cut role to the different government agencies. Disaster risk reduction and management is not the job of one information provider. It should be the collective effort of agencies,” he points out.

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