8 Aerobridge workers fly to Qatar;  Forecasters leave PH  ‘area of responsibility’ The Philippines lost nine more highly-skilled workers to overseas companies that offer higher salaries, separate reports said on Saturday. The loss of highly-skilled workers or ‘brain drain’ has posed a problem for officials and policy markers in light of the reverse migration of expatriates.
An aerobridge operator at work.  ERIC APOLONIO An aerobridge operator at work. ERIC APOLONIO
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph G. Recto said that another PAG-ASA forecaster left the Philippine’s “area of responsibility” to work in Congo. Recto identified the forecaster as Ricky Fabregas, who was offered a P100,000 a month salary to bring his expertise to the African country. Meanwhile, the Airline Operators Council reported that the Ninoy Aquino International Airport has lost eight aerobridge operators, who resigned after they were offered the same job with higher pay in airports in Doha, Qatar. The aerobridge operators, whose main task is to operate the tubes that ferries the passengers from the plane to the terminal, and vice-versa,  were reportedly offered P80,000 per month. Dante Basanta, NAIA terminal 1 manager, said that the NAIA terminals have 24 professional aerobridge operators who receive P13, 000/month that includes their cost of living allowance (cola). But with the resignation of the eight operators, the airport management has no other recourse but to hire more aerobridge operators for training to fill the gap left by the resigned operators. “We are afraid what might happen to our aircraft if trainees will handle the operations”, just like what happened to China Airlines almost a month ago when trainee accidentally miscalculated and bumped the plane’s door that caused about $1 million to $3million damage” said one member, who refused to be identified. The Manila International Airport Authority must act now regarding this issue,” the AOC said. Recto, meanwhile, expressed fears that at the rate weather forecasters are leaving the country,  the Philippines may end up “with no one alarming us that a typhoon is coming.” “If the problem is in the delay of the release of the benefits of PAGASA people, then I am confident that the DBM, being the main preacher of the gospel against red tape, will resolve it soonest.” Recto said that based on the  2013 budget, the money for Hazard Pay and the Magna Carta for Science and Technology, or RA 8439, the two allowances PAGASA personnel claim they are  entitled to receive, is there. For Hazard Pay, the bureaucracy-wide budget this year is P51.8 million while that for RA 8439 benefits is P183.7 million.  This excludes hazard pay for the military and uniformed personnel. For next year, the total allocation for Hazard Pay will increase to P832 million, and the Magna Carta for Science and Technology benefits to P224.6 million. Recto, however, said that the government has added into the 2014 budget four new “hazard and hardship” allowances for civilian employees. These are the hazard duty pay (P1.3 billion), high-risky duty pay (P893,000), “hazardous duty pay” (P586 million) and the  special hardship allowance” (P1.17 billion). “I think the restructuring and right-sizing of the hazard pay allocations stem from the redefinition of what constitutes a hazard. And the creation of “different shades” of hazard pay should be welcomed by those in high-risk jobs,” Recto said. “Thus I hope that the perennial compensation issues confronted by personnel in PAGASA and similar agencies will be solved by the new allocations in 2014,” he added. Recto warned that if the compensation issue is not solved next year, he would summon to the Senate all the stakeholders, and ask them for a solution, if necessary, on how to prevent the departure of technical people who work on “mission critical posts” such as air traffic controllers.
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