Slow 911 response? Dial 8888

Bea Cupin

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Slow 911 response? Dial 8888


PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa says the two hotlines complement each other

MANILA, Philippines – If police take too long to respond to emergency calls made via the newly-launched nationwide 911 hotline, there’s another number to call: 8888. 

If 911 is for emergencies, the 8888 hotline is a direct line to Malacañang for reporting instances of corruption or ineptitude. 

Isipin niyo kung kayo ay hindi nirespondehan ng pulis, tawag nila sa 8888, diretso kay presidente ‘yan… sigurado mamalasin ‘yung pulis kung hindi gumagalaw (Think about it: if you don’t get police response, call 8888, that’s a direct line to the President. Whoever that cop is will be in bad favor),” Dela Rosa told reporters in a press conference, the same day the 911 hotline was launched. 

He added: “So nagcocomplement each other ‘yan. Kung hindi nag respond sa 911… ‘yung 8888, complain kayo do’n (So the two hotlines complement each other. If they fail to respond when you call 911, call 8888 and complain there).”

The 911 national hotline will be patterned after the existing service in Davao City, where President Rodrigo Duterte was mayor for more than two decades. For now, however, the national version is limited only to police units. 

Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said he is confident the hotlines would roll out smoothly soon enough. The 8888 hotline, for instance, will be building on an existing line used by the Civil Service Commission. 

“Ang numero unang tanong naman ay budget diba. Kung kaya nating budgetan lahat. That’s why we’re waiting for the EO at sa paggawa ng EO, ay kinakausap rin ng ating pangulo ang DBM… iba’t ibang ahensiya na may kinalaman dito o makakatulong para maging mas effective ang 911 at 8888,” he said in a chance interview. 

(The question here is if there’s a budget for it. If we can provide funds for it. That’s why we’re waiting for the Executive Order and in crafting the EO, the President is already talking to the Department of Budget and Management, other agencies that are involved or that can help make 911 and 8888 effective.)  

Other hotline numbers – the Department of the Interior and Local Government’s 117, for instance – will still be in place until people “get used to [911],” said Andanar. But by January 1, 2017, the 117 number will be “subsumed” under the 911 hotline. –

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.