Diwata satellite engineers hit DOST for alleged ‘outrageous treatment’

Diwata satellite engineers hit DOST for alleged ‘outrageous treatment’

MANILA, Philippines. Two engineers of the Diwata-1 microsatellite project have accused the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) of subjecting the team to intense pressure and “extremely difficult and back-breaking” conditions.

Through a Facebook post on Friday, April 1, Engineer Paolo Espiritu, who was part of the nine-man team of engineers, claimed there were inconsistencies in the working contract given by DOST.

“According to the contract, we are to build the satellite without pay, with 4 years of return service. On paper, we were just students. On paper, we weren’t part of the project. On paper, we were not engineers,” Espiritu revealed.

Espiritu said that they directed their concerns to DOST. Despite consistent follow-ups and requests for a meeting to discuss the terms, they were only given a promise that a more suitable contract would be provided.

Since they had high respect for the leaders of the project and DOST officials, the engineers agreed to sign the contract.

“Now, it is 2016. The microsatellite is in space. Still, empty promises and imaginary contracts. Still, we are merely students,” Espiritu wrote.

Check out Espiritu’s full post below.

Meanwhile, another Diwata-1 engineer has broken his silence about the issue. On Tuesday, April 5, engineer Julian Marvick Fua Oliveros said they were forced to complete the project in just one year despite the fact that it should take  at least three years to finish.

In order to beat the project deadlines, the team of engineers, according to Oliveros, had to cancel holiday plans and work even on weekends.

“DOST and Dr. Marciano knew the work load, knew our never-ending complaints. For 1 year! Why was the timeline not changed? Because the project needed to be successful regardless of what happens to our degrees. Regardless of what happens to us. Why? Because we have no rights. We are just students,” Oliveros claimed.

Read Oliveros’s full story below.

On the other hand, the DOST claimed that higher stipends were given to the engineers compared to ordinary Mombushu scholars. The agency also denied allegations that DOST officials who traveled to Japan to attend seminars and events were given more than the daily subsistence allowance allowed by the government.

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