Senator Francis Tolentino (PNA File photo)


MANILA – Senator Francis Tolentino on Wednesday urged the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) to avoid scientific and technical terms when giving weather forecasts.

Tolentino said that while using scientific terms is the standard practice, PAGASA should use a language that could be better understood by the majority of the public, adding that this could lessen casualties during times of calamities brought by severe weather conditions.

Tolentino said using technical terms when giving weather forecasts has made it difficult for ordinary citizens and even local government officials to comprehend terms and grasp their underlying concepts.

"It’s about time that they are made more accessible to the layman and their understanding more widespread. Siguro sa PAGASA baguhin na yung lenguahe nila. Baguhin na para maintindihan ng ating mga kababayan (Maybe for Pagasa, they should change their language. They need to change so it can be easily understood by our people),” Tolentino said in a statement.

The lawmaker cited the incident days before the 2013 onslaught of "Yolanda" (Haiyan) when Tacloban City and other provinces in the Eastern Visayas Region were caught by surprise. He said the people failed to prepare for the anticipated giant "storm surge" since the term was not explained properly using layman’s language.

Tolentino added that the reported multiple casualties in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao due to massive flashfloods brought by Severe Tropical Storm Paeng could have been avoided if the rainfall warning alert system has been properly explained to its residents.

“Equally important yung communication every time there’s a severe weather condition—the information being disseminated, as well as the choice of language so that people can easily understand it,” he said.

Tolentino, a former chairperson of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, said he witnessed, as one of the first responders, the catastrophic devastation of Super Typhoon Yolanda in Tacloban City. (PNA)