Sunday, November 22, 2009

Educate people about PAGASA

In one of my posts written at the height of Ondoy, I've mentioned how I feel for PAGASA, our country's weather forecasting agency. PAGASA is one of the most popular agencies in our lifetime. As a kid, I would want to befriend PAG-ASA, the bringer of no-classes news. Of course I was selfish then, it's different now as an adult, when I've become more mature and understand how storms could devastate our lands. Now I thank that we have PAGASA to warn us, but apparently they're receiving bad publicity, which continue to tarnish their reputation. They're the most convenient agency to blame when shit happens and they're practically defenseless.

The agency's reputation depends in informing public about weather calamities in forms of heavy rainfall, floods, devastation and sea faring incidents. But for the most recent weather calamities, people begin to easily blame the agency when the news and warnings are delayed when in fact it's not. We belittle the agency's efforts to warn us hours before branding them exaggerated. Then we also get mad when PAGASA forecasts a heavy storm when in fact nothing arrives.

I don't know the nitty gritty aspects the agency works on, but I am quite confident that, just like with the rest of our agencies here, PAGASA lacks good equipment. Therefore they cannot efficiently predict all aspects of the weather like the amount of rainfall that could've been useful when Ondoy struck us. If ever they have available apparatus, I'm pretty sure it's not that technologically advanced. That goes the same with their other facilities, communication device and exposure to public because of certain budget constraints and lack of prioritization.

And the cue word that most people forget is they FORECAST. PREDICT. They make calculated and scientific predictions based on analysis of salient information brought by their equipment and scientific knowledge. They cannot exactly know the MIND of the storm. No matter how scientific, even calculaed predictions can be turned 360 degrees because naturally, just like how god made them, STORMS are very unpredictable. Storms could appear suddenly giving minimal time to prepare or it could be hovering like a giant cloud of destruction for days and just disappear.

Whenever PAGASA sends out information, I'm confident that they know better. Experience and specific knowledge are what put them in service. It's the majority of people who do not give them due credit and who do not try to factor in PAGASA's limitations. That's why I feel sad when people lambast them in social networking sites and make fun an agency, a rightful and scientific agency. Even actual form of science makes mistakes sometimes, what more if they're dealing with calculated prediction of the unpredictable? I also hate it when people belittle the warnings just because the agency, as they say, has lost its credibility. Credibility is such a harsh term given PAGASA's circumstances. Why can't people just be thankful that they were given a chance to prepare; and just hope the forecast would remain just a forecast?

I am still confident with PAGASA. It's unfair that they are receiving overly bad publicity because people do not understand what they're going through and what they're about. What other agencies can we rightfully depend on? Let them do their jobs, and I am sure in their hearts, they're doing it well. Let's just understand their shortcomings and current situation. Let's be educated and not be judgmental. Because no matter how you see them, we still need this agency.

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