EditorialsPH Digital and Tech

NDRRMC and Smart Launch the Nationwide Emergency Cell Broadcast System

The NDRRMC will be in charge of ECBS advisories.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and Smart Communication rolled out on Tuesday the nationwide emergency cell broadcast system (ECBS) for quick dissemination of emergency and disaster alerts to mobile users.

According to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, the ECBS allows for hazard-specific and location-specific warnings.

“‘Yung alert hindi pare-pareho, iba yung alert sa tabing-dagat, iba sa tabing ilog, iba rin sa bundok. Pwede i-localize ‘yung alert depende sa tatamaan ng bagyo o anuman. Ang takot natin yung lindol wala namang pasabi yan e. Ang challenge is palaging during and after na ‘yan,” the Defense Secretary remarked during the press conference.

“Itong ating sistema ngayon marami pa tayong aayusin, the NDRRMC and OCD (Office of Civil Defense) meron naman silang regional stations d’yan. They are going to fine tune this with Smart,” he added.

Head of Public Affairs at PLDT and Smart Ramon R. Isberto noted that the ECBS is the telecom company’s compliance with Republic Act No. 10639 or the “Free Mobile Disaster Alerts Act” which mandates all telcos to implement free mobile alerts to the public in the event of emergencies.

He added that the ECBS is a quick and efficient system of spreading alerts and advisories, especially in time-critical situations such as tsunami warnings and the like. “You just need access to [a] computer, to [the] program, compose the message, define the area where the message will be sent, and then send the message. The system will send the message out.”

NDRRMC Executive Director Ricardo Jalad said that through the ECBS, the NDRRMC will be in charge of creating and disseminating the alerts and advisories, with input from different government agencies. The process is faster than the traditional SMS method, where the government has to course the broadcasts through the telcos first, who will then spread it to mobile users.

“With this technology wala na yung telcos, kami na ang magka-craft, kami na ang magpapadala ng message,” he said. “Ang challenge doon ‘yung pagcraft ng message dahil limited ang characters,” Jalad added. “Ayaw naming abusuhin ang paggamit nito. Gusto namin marealize ng tao na pag pinadalhan sila e urgent talaga kaya dapat silang sumunod.”

According to GMA News Online, NDRRMC and Smart are set to conduct test runs of the ECBS in Northern, Central, and Southern Luzon in the next few weeks, following successful trials in Mindanao last January 24, Visayas last January 25, and Metro Manila last January 26.

Source: GMA News Online

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