Telcos aid gov’t agencies, LGUs as Typhoon Ruby nears
MANILA, Philippines – Telecommunications companies have begun assisting local government agencies and communities for their emergency communication requirements as Typhoon Ruby (international name: Hagupit) nears landfall in Eastern Samar on Saturday night, December 6.
The assistance is being extended by Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) group of Smart Communications, Inc (Smart) and Sun Cellular (Sun), and Globe Telecom Inc.
The Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) have been provided with wireless broadband services by Smart and Sun.
The mobile groups of PLDT also provided additional mobile phones and load for hotline coordination with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Operation Center located in Quezon City.
PLDT is installing 5 additional landlines and DSL data link for the OCD and TD-LTE wireless broadband links for the 3 command centers in Cebu City.
Cebu province is also using Smart’s Infoboard for timely bulletins and prayers to local disaster responders via text messages.
Smart has provided satellite phones to the Cebu Provincial Office, Cebu Provincial Police Command, Philippine Information Agency (PIA)- Region 6, the Bohol Provincial Office, and Borongan City in Samar.
Updates and reports have been reported by various units through Batingaw, a free mobile application co-developed by the agency and supported by Smart where users can post geo-located status with photos and send safety status via text to designated numbers.
Additional airtime load has been provided to the various NDRRMC offices of Borongan City in Eastern Samar, Catarman in Northern Samar, and Iloilo province.
The Naga City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council has been provided with Smart Bro WiFi units and additional PLDT landline as backup emergency communications.
Albay is using Smart Infoboard and Pindot, a mobile app that runs on the same platform as OCD’s Batingaw.
Smart Infoboard is also currently being used by other local governments and agencies such as the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Southern Leyte, Bohol, Cebu City, Danao City, OCD-Cordillera Autonomous Region, and the Archdiocese of Cebu.
Free calls, charging stations
The PLDT group is ready to deploy Libreng Tawag (free call) stations for post-disaster response in coordination with the local governments.
Meanwhile, Globe is providing emergency communication facilities to municipalities as Typhoon Ruby approaches.
Mobile phones and prepaid load for Libreng Tawag service to affected residents are already in place for at least a week’s use.
The initial areas where Libreng Tawag centers from Globe will be set up include: Kalibo and New Washington, Aklan
- San Jose and Culasi, Antique
- Roxas City and Pontevedra, Capiz
- Bantayan, Bogo, and Danao, Cebu
- Sara and Concepcion, Iloilo
- Cadiz and Sagay, Negros Occidental
- Sibulan and Tanjay, Negros Oriental
- Ormoc, Tacloban, and Maasin, Leyte
- Borongan and Guiuan, Eastern Samar
The Libreng Tawag centers will be ready within the critical 72 hours after landfall and will start operating even if the mobile signal remains uninterrupted.
Should there be a service disruption, the centers will operate as soon as communication lines are restored, Globe assured.
Globe will also be deploying portable generator sets to affected areas in case of power interruption, for Libreng Charging (free charging) use.
Globe’s security personnel are also focused on ensuring that the telecommunication firm’s employees and its systems are safe and intact.
The firm is also doing necessary coordination with various internal groups and local government units in the path of Typhoon Ruby. – Rappler.com