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Smart, OCD institutionalize emergency communications

by SMART Public Affairs | Jun 30, 2016
[29 June 2016] PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications (Smart) has partnered anew with the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) to strengthen disaster communications in Region 4A.
DRR Summit-R4A (1)

In addition to Region 7, CAR, and Region 10, OCD and Smart were also able to form rapid emergency
telecommunication teams (RETT) in Region 4A as part of their efforts to institutionalize disaster
communications in the country to facilitate more immediate response and support to affected communities.
To indicate acceptance of their responsibilities as members of RETT for CALABARZON, delegates of the
regional disaster communications summit affix their signature on the commitment wall.

Dubbed as ICT Bayanihan, the regional meetings for private and public national and regional agencies aim to establish disaster communication protocols and institutionalize rapid emergency telecommunication teams (RETT) for immediate response and support to affected communities.

“Communications is vital in facilitating rescue and response, and is a form of relief for those affected by disasters allowing them to reconnect with their loved ones,” said PLDT and Smart Public Affairs Group Head Ramon Isberto. “This is why we are happy to work with our partners from OCD in helping advance emergency communications in the country through these regional conferences.”

Smart and OCD have earlier organized similar meetings in Regions 7, 10 and the Cordillera Autonomous Region. In the coming months, ICT Bayanihan will also be organized in Regions 6 and 8 as well as the CARAGA Region.

Project Agos SMS service
Smart also supports the OCD through technology solutions that can help facilitate immediate response.

For instance, the Project Agos SMS service, which was launched by Smart along with Voyager Innovations and Rappler, allows users to ask for rescue, search, or relief assistance via a text message.

Crowd-sourced information gathered via Project Agos SMS service is validated by the Rappler team and volunteers before being passed on to relevant government agencies. Rappler's Project Agos and Ateneo's eBayanihan are about to merge into one platform, which will be known as Agos, powered by eBayanihan.

#SafePH program
Smart has also been consistent in providing immediate libreng tawag services in affected areas.

It also offers a web-based disaster communications solution called Smart Infocast to government agencies, local government units, and other disaster-prone communities to help with weather forecasts, and evacuation advisories.

It also developed the Batingaw mobile app for OCD-NDRRMC, a handy resource and reporting tool for nationwide disaster management. The app can be downloaded for free at Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

All these efforts, services, and innovations to help improve communications for humanitarian emergencies are part of Smart’s commitment to the GSMA Humanitarian Connectivity Charter.

More than just providing communications as relief during disasters, Smart has also taken an active role in strengthening the capacity of high-risk communities to prepare for, manage, and recover from the impact of disasters. To know more about Smart’s preparedness initiatives, visit www.smart.com.ph/SafePH.