Thursday, July 10, 2008

Weatherman’s radar plan delayed

Weatherman’s radar plan delayed
By Romie A. Evangelista

The plan of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration to buy five Doppler radars with atotal cost of P500 million had been delayed by the intervention of two congressmen, sources in the House of Representatives said yesterday.

The two lawmakers wanted to have a hand in the bidding and supply of the equipment, sources said.

A Doppler radar is used by weathermen to measure the amount of rain that a weather system will bring to a certain area.

One of the sources, who is allied with the ruling party, said the lawmakers are making it difficult for Pagasa to procure the equipment amd improve its weather forecasting system. Pagasa director Nilo Prisco is caught in the crossfire, the sources said.

Their bickering came to fore after a supplier of Doppler radars identified with a certain politician from the Bicol region had pre-qualified for the bidding and was about to make the delivery when another lawmaker stepped in.

The source said Pagasa officials were pressured by another politician from Southern Tagalog to stop the transaction and called for another bidding to include his favored supplier.

“I just hope that Pagasa officials have the guts to tell the whole truth about the delayed modernization of the agency,” the source said. “Otherwise, they will take all the blame.”

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, chairman of the House committee on appropriations, earlier said Pagasa had received funds to purchase the Doppler radars over a three-year period—P149 million in 2005, P200 million in 2007, and an additional P85 million calamity fund during the same year.

During Monday’s hearing conducted by the House committees on transportation and oversight chaired by Bacolod City Rep. Monico Puentevella and Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez, Pagasa officials were “grilled” extensively by the panel members over the June 21 sinking of m/v Princess of the Stars in Romblon.

The House sources said that most of the lawmakers treated “with kid gloves” the officials of the Sulpicio Lines Inc., owner of the sunken ship. But they were mad as hell as they peppered the weather officials with irrelevant questions, the sources said.

Philippine Law makers are just TROUBLE makers..They make inquiries not to look for answers but to only to have a good image. They don't care how many will be affected by they're insatiable thirst for money and power..As long as these greedy pigs are in power the Philippines, my country will be suffering..

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