MANILA – The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) brought its modernization plans to the Senate Committee on Science and Technology on Friday.
Four Phivolcs modernization bills have been filed by Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva, and Senators Francis Escudero, Jinggoy Estrada, Ramon Revilla Jr., and Francis Tolentino.
Phivolcs Director Teresito Bacolcol said the modernization aims to install 300 earthquake monitoring stations; 82 sea level monitoring stations; complete monitoring systems for eight volcanoes with minimum monitoring instrument for 16 volcanoes; complete geologic hazard maps; capacitated additional staff; and a new Phivolcs building with state-of-the-art facilities like central data receiving center, researches, trainings, ICT (information and communications technology) server room, facility tools and archives.
"In order for us to continue populating these platforms, as well as continue with our mapping efforts, we need to have more technical staff," Bacolcol said, noting that half of Phivolcs staff are under contract of service or temporary status.
Under Zubiri's version, PHP5 billion will be taken from the share of the national government in the gross income of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority as initial fund the modernization.
In the next two years, Phivolcs will be given PHP2.5 billion per year to be used exclusively for capital outlay, which shall be administered by its Executive Director in accordance with existing government budgeting, accounting and auditing rules and regulations.
Panel chair Senator Alan Peter suggested to utilize in the modernization budget the official development assitance from foreign countries, as well as revenue-generating measures to make the budgeting more feasible.
"I just don't want that we pass a specific five-year plan then we don't give you the money," he said, while asking economic managers to make sure that the modernization will be funded regularly once it is passed into law. (PNA)