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MANILA, Philippines – Did you get a warning alert on your mobile phone recently? No need to panic. It only means your mobile phone is ready to receive emergency alerts in times of calamities and disasters.
On Thursday, January 26, Smart Communications tested their emergency alert system meant for broadcasting official disaster warning messages from authorized government agencies straight to their clients’ mobile phones.
The goal of the system is to amplify the disaster preperedness efforts of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) in times of emergencies and calamities.
The emergency SMS broadcast is in compliance with Republic Act 10639 or The Free Mobile Disaster Alerts Act which was signed almost 3 years ago. It mandates all telecommunications service providers to send free mobile alerts in times of natural and man-made disasters and calamities.
Despite delays in its implementation, telecommunication companies have already started to integrate the warning alert system into their services.
Globe Telecom, in a press release last December 26, 2016, said they transmitted a total of 11 text messages to warn their customers of potential dangers in their respective areas prior to the landfall of Typhoon Nina.
The mobile alert is free and includes the following features:
Critical information that affected communities can use to prepare for and respond to disasters
Contact information of authorities and responders in affected areas
Information on evacuation centers, relief sites, and pick-up points
Up-to-date information provided by state weather bureau PAGASA, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), and NDRRMC
How to activate the emergency alerts on your phone
The alerts will be sent directly to subscribers located within and around affected areas.
For Android users, just go to your messaging settings and look for “Emergency Alerts” or “Cell Broadcast”. Turn them on.
For iOS users, update to the latest version first, go to “Notification settings” and scroll all the way down, then turn on “emergency and government alerts”. – Enrico Belga Jr/Rappler.com
Enrico Belga Jr is a Rappler intern.