Weathermen, scientists hit COA ruling on ‘longevity pay’

State weathermen and other science workers from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) are lamenting the decision of the Commission on Audit (COA), which issued a Notice of Disallowance requiring them to refund excess money due to the alleged overpayment of Longevity Pay (LP) under R.A 8439 otherwise known as “Magna Carta for Scientists, Engineers, Researchers and other S&T personnel in the Government.”

The Philippine Weathermen Employees Association (PWEA) said that the COA Notice of Disallowance has caused unwarranted restlessness among the PAGASA workforce.

“We are extremely alarmed by the said order as government science workers have been receiving the amount for 15 years based on the Implementing Rules and Regulations of R.A. 8439 and DOST administrative Order No. 005 dated March 19, 1999,” PWEA president Ramon Agustin said.

Agustin also said that the inclusion of Magna Carta including the LP in the annual General Appropriations Act (GAA) has greatly helped to address the “brain drain” issue in the science community.

“As to PAGASA, the continued giving of the Longevity Pay somehow solved the exodus of our seasoned weather forecasters,” Agustin added.

Meanwhile, Agustin likewise revealed that the PAGASA management has appealed to COA, maintaining that the LP paid to its officials and employees is legal and regular.

PAGASA contended that the payment of LP to PAGASA personnel “have been religiously subjected to the audit of COA since the time of its implementation up to the present or for a period of fifteen years”. Hence, there was no indication of intentional misrepresentation on the part of PAGASA, it added.

“I hope and pray that my fellow weathermen and colleagues in the science community be secured by the constitutional principle of non-diminution of benefit rule,” Agustin said.

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