Smart ECBS boosts NDRRMC disaster preparedness efforts
THE Philippines’ disaster preparedness and response agency is now better equipped to send alerts to the public in times of calamities.
PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications has turned over communications equipment to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) so that the government disaster agency can access Smart’s Emergency Cell Broadcast System (ECBS) and use it to quickly send public warnings to mobile phone users in specific areas.
The ECBS is designed to send urgent messages, such as evacuation notices and earthquake and tsunami warnings to activated mobile devices within the affected area. Cell broadcast is effective in disseminating quick hazard alerts because it operates on a radio channel separate from those used by voice calls and text messages or SMS (short messaging service), which may get congested in times of calamities.
NDRRMC, the National Telecommunications Commission, and Smart, launched ECBS on a trial basis in March last year. It has since been used to broadcast quick alerts during typhoons and post-earthquake situations. Smart invested over P500 million on ECBS to fully comply with Republic Act No. 10639 or the Free Mobile Disaster Alerts Act.