Senate approves bills seeking to modernize PAGASA, naval architecture

The Senate today approved two bills that will pave the way for the modernization of Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) and the practice of naval architecture in the country. Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, sponsor of Senate Bill 2834, said the proposed law seeks to provide additional funds for the procurement of modern equipment such as Doppler radars and the setting up of world-class weather data center and other equipment to enhance PAGASA’s capabilities in providing accurate and timely weather forecasts.

Under the proposed law, he said, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (PAGCOR) would set aside P3 billion from its gross income to finance the PAGASA modernization. He said the amount would be taken from the 50 percent share of the national government, which amounted to P14 billion in 2014.

Other revenue sources, he said, would come from grants, bequests, donations, budgetary surpluses, Official Development Assistance (ODA) and income from the PAGASA Modernization Fund.

Senator Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV, chairman of the Committee on Civil Service, Government Reorganization and Professional Regulation and sponsor of Senate Bill 2482, said the bill sought to replace the five-decade old law crafted in 1965.

Senate President Franklin M. Drilon, the principal author of SBN 2482, said it was important that the profession of naval architecture be updated to modern standards given that the country’s ship building and repair industry is starting to be recognized by other countries.

Data from the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) says the Philippines has 121 licensed shipyards, eight facilities for the construction and repair of big ships and 14 other shipyards for medium-sized ships and 99 yards to service smaller ships.