MANILA, Philippines – Would providing free and up-to-date mobile alerts on natural calamities reduce casualties in times of disasters?
Signed on June 20, Republic Act 10639 mandates all telecommunications service providers to send free mobile alerts in times of natural and man-made disasters and calamities.
The damage caused by Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) underscored the importance of intensifying and improving disaster communication in reducing casualties during disasters. (READ: Worried Pinoys use social media to find loved ones)
Aimed at bridging information gap during disasters, the mobile alert shall include up-to-date information provided by state weather bureau Pagasa, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). The alerts shall be directly sent to subscribers located within and around affected areas.
The alerts will also include contact information of authorities and responders in affected areas.
Information on evacuation centers, relief sites, and pick-up points may also be included in the mobile alert.
Telecommunication corporations that fail to observe the law will be fined P1 million ($22849) to P10 million ($228493). They may also face suspension or revocation of their legislative franchises licensed by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).– Rappler.com