[22 April 2016] In support of the 2016 Nationwide Simultaneous Earthquake Drill (NSED), PLDT wireless unit, Smart Communications, provided satellite communications to emergency operations centers (EOCs) in different parts of the National Capital Region (NCR) and in Cebu.
OCD representative at Camp Aguinaldo general headquarters coordinates with emergency operation centers
from the four quadrants using Smart Satellite as part of NDRRMC’s nationwide simultaneous earthquake drill.
As a member of the Emergency Telecommunication Cluster of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), Smart has been consistently providing communication aid during disasters. These include free calling and charging services in affected areas which are made possible through a partnership sealed with the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
The company also deploys satellite communication services to LGUs and response units during emergency and relief operations. Smart is the only telco in the country offering satellite services.
“Communications as aid plays a crucial role during disasters. Our satellite services are a viable alternative to traditional fixed and wireless communications during extraordinary events especially when other infrastructure like power facilities are down,” said Ramon R. Isberto, head of Public Affairs at Smart.
Studies have shown that a 7.2-magnitude tremor can cause enough damage to divide NCR into four quadrants. Because of this, the NDRRMC and the Office of Civil Defense conduct quarterly simultaneous earthquake drills, to test, evaluate, and validate the disaster response plans that are in place for the national, regional, and local levels.
During the drill, participating citizens and groups from the EOCs in NCR and Cebu and used Smart’s satellite services for simulated rescue and response efforts. Smart Satellite handsets were provided for Smart Libreng Tawag stations in Clark Airbase and in the EOCs of the four quadrants where evacuation centers were also set up.
To aid in emergency communications in the command and control operation centers based in Camp Emilio Aguinaldo and Clark Air Base, Smart also set up Thuraya IP+ system, which works like a Wi-Fi router but takes its broadband signal from a satellite.
Smart as an organization has embraced preparedness, and has been aggressively promoting the culture of preparedness not only within its ranks but also with its partner-communities, including the Church, academe, high-risk communities, and Filipino households under its #SafePH program.