MANILA, Philippines – A Smart service is being used in several provinces to disseminate key coronavirus information in their localities.
Smart Infocast is a broadcasting platform via SMS that can send out several alerts to a specific group of people as defined by designated users. It’s currently in use in the cities and towns of Cagayan De Oro in Misamis Oriental, Digos, Zamboanga, Surigao del Norte, and Basilan in Mindanao, as well as other Northern Mindanao provinces; Batuan, Pitogo and Carlos P. Garcia in Bohol, Danao, Bantayan, Sta Fe, Lapu-Lapu and Barangay Tisa in Cebu in the Visayas; and the provinces of Batangas, Albay, Sorsogon, Catanduanes in Luzon.
One example of an alert sent out by the system is an update regarding the number of persons under monitoring in Cebu. Smart customers in Dumanjug, a third-class municipality in Cebu of around 51,000 people, received this message:
“As of April 28, 2020, sixty four (64) Persons Under Monitoring (PUM) with history of travel from Cebu City, Mandaue City and Lapu-Lapu City. All are undergoing 14-day quarantine. #STAYATHOME #KOOPERASYON #PARTISIPASYON #PAGPAKABANA #ILOVEDUMANJUG. This is a free message.”
The system presents one of the several ways that LGUs can reach out to their constituents. One of its strengths is said to be its easy customizability in choosing the recipients of the updates and other critical information. Registered subscribers are also able to send reports to Smart Infocast. In Dumanjug, for instance, the LGU is asking for subscribers to report people coming from outside the municipality.
“We also have a feedback system called ‘I-report ang Bag-ong Naabot’ (Report New Arrivals), where they could provide through Infocast information about persons arriving from outside their barangays, so that they can be immediately assisted by their Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams,” said Lolito Bontigao, from Dumanjug’s Public Information Office and is also its Infocast administrator.
Infocast has also been used in other locales to know whether students during the COVID-19 crisis are living with relatives or not; reminders to be aware of fake news on social media; and local barangay programs. – Rappler.com