Smart Communications (Smart) deployed emergency communication services before, during and after the onslaught of Typhoon Lando to ensure faster coordination and deployment of disaster personnel and aids.
In compliance with directives of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), emergency alerts via SMS and cell broadcasts were sent out to Smart and Sun subscribers before Typhoon Lando made landfall to provide vital safety information. In coordination with local government units, early warning SMS broadcasts via Smart’s Infoboard service were also sent out to residents of Northern Luzon, particularly Aurora province.
Smart communication support and personnel were also prepositioned for Libreng Tawag services in areas to be hit by the typhoon. Smart also provided satellite phones to the Department of Social Welfare and Development to facilitate coordination and deployment of rescue and relief efforts.
Immediately after the storm hit, Smart personnel set up free call and power charging stations in the areas hardest hit.
“Communications as aid plays a crucial role for front-line responders when coordinating rescue and relief activities. Our satellite services, free calling and charging services, and donation platforms provide vital communication links for agencies performing pre- and post-disaster response functions, and for our subscribers who want to take part in the relief efforts,” said Ramon R. Isberto, Smart Public Affairs Head.
Upon instructions of the NTC, two emergency disaster alerts were sent on October 17 to Smart and Sun subscribers in the affected provinces of Northern Luzon.
In the evening of October 19, another set of disaster alerts were sent to Smart and Sun subscribers. The messages, which urged residents to take precautions, were transmitted via text messages and cell broadcasts.
In Aurora province, the Provincial authorities used Smart Infoboard SMS services to warn residents to take precautions before the storm hit land.
Free calls and charging were made available once the storm had passed the affected areas.
“Libreng Tawag” services are ongoing at Aurora National Science High School, Baler Central School, and Sentro Baler, Aurora; Calanasan Terminal (Centro 3, Claveria) and Barangay Hall (Centro 10, Tuguegarao City) in Cagayan; Aragon Elementary School in Barangay Calauanan; at the evacuation center located at the office of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council in Lagawe, Ifugao; San Vicente Barangay Hall in Ilagan, Isabela; and at the Nueva Ecija National High School.
Starting October 21, free calling stations via Smart Satellite services will also be available at the Municipal Hall and Maria Aurora Multipurpose Hall in Aurora; Dinadiawan Multipurpose Hall in Dipaculao, Aurora; Municipal Multipurpose Building and San Isidro Municipal Building in San Luis, Aurora;and at the municipalities of Casiguran, Dinalungan, and Dinalasag.
In a number of areas where there is lack of commercial electricity, Smart has also made available to local residents, power from Smart cell sites, to enable them to re-charge their mobile phones.
Free charging services for mobile phones batteries are available in following cell sites in Nueva Ecija: Brgy. San Roque, San Jose City, Munoz; Brgy. Bantug, Munoz; Brgy. Baloc, Sto. Domingo, Baloc; Brgy. Pulog Buli, Sto. Domingo; Brgy. Poblacion (behind municipal hall), Talavera; Poblacion North, Lupao; Poblacion Centro, Pantabangan; Brgy. Sinipit (behind municipal hall), Bongabon.
Charging services were also set up in Marcos Village (beside Iglesia ni Cristo), Siclong, Laur; Brgy. Paltik, Dingalan; Gabaldon town proper and Neust Compound; Cabu, Cabanatuan; Bangad, Cabanatuan; Aliaga Poblacion; Brgy. Mambangan, Quezon, San Leonardo; Cuyapo Poblacion, San Leonardo; Saranay Disctrict, Guimba; Penaranda Poblacion; San Vicente, Gapan; P Carmen St., San Isidro 1; Brgy. San Fernando, Cabaiao; Brgy. San Roque, Cabaiao; Gapan, Balwarte; Brgy. Concepcion, General Tinio; and Agbanawag, Llanera.
Aside from free calling and charging stations, Smart is offering other platforms that will enable the public to take part in post-Typhoon Lando relief efforts. Smart subscribers can donate to the Philippine Red Cross by texting RED to 4143 (ex. RED 100 to 4143). Donations are accepted in the following amounts: 10, 25, 50, 100, 300, 500, 1000. In partnership with Rappler’s Project Agos, Smart subscribers can also help provide vital information and report on-ground situation in their respective areas for free by sending RELIEFPH or RESCUEPH to 2929.
Recognizing communications as an important form of relief, Smart has been consistent in immediately providing free calls and charging services, and emergency communication links during disasters, to help government and humanitarian agencies coordinate and deliver more effective relief efforts to affected communities.