Telco steps up support for govt’s disaster preparedness programCebu Daily News
AS the country braces for the coming of the typhoon season, Smart Communications Inc. has stepped up its support for the government’s disaster preparedness efforts.
Smart assisted Project Noah, the two-year program of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to set up flood monitoring systems in 18 major river basins all over the country.
Smart and sister firm Sun Cellular have agreed to let the DOST install automated rain gauges in 600 of their cell sites in the target river basin systems.
“Aside from installing rain gauges, our network services will also be used to transmit weather data for analysis and formulation of DOST’s grand flood warning system,” said Mon Isberto, Smart spokesperson.
“Our cellular network has withstood some of the country’s worst disasters and this gives us the ability to support the government’s critical disaster preparedness programs and the need of people to stay connected during times of calamities,” he added.
Meanwhile, Pagasa has completed the installation of 63 automatic rain gauges (ARGs) in Smart cellsites nationwide.
Pagasa recently inaugurated one of these rain gauges in Mindanao which suffered in a massive flooding when typhoon Sendong struck the region last year.
“Hopefully, with the use of ARGs and other equipment, which are planned to be part of one weather monitoring system, a repeat of that tragic event will be prevented,” said Pagasa administrator Nathaniel Servando.
Smart is also promoting proper disaster response in the flood-prone communities.
Together with the Corporate Network for Disaster Response (CNDR), Smart provides trainings to local officials of Marikina, Dumaguete, Bacolod and Cagayan De Oro, helping them formulate contingency plans and organize flood drills.
To complement these trainings, Smart is promoting the use of its Infoboard SMS community broadcast system to empower communities.
On its third year, the Infoboard system in its pilot site calamity-prone Southern Leyte helps disseminate and gather weather and disaster related reports to and from its barangays.
This World Bank-funded project, which is being implemented through the help of the Philippine Business for Social Progress, is a model that Smart would like to replicate in other areas of the country.