Press Release
March 23, 2011

Legarda: Telcos Have Vital Role in Disaster Preparedness

Emphasizing that communication is one of the most vital infrastructure during and immediately after disasters, Senator Loren Legarda today called on telecommunication companies (telcos) to see how they can contribute more to prepare for and lessen the impact of natural hazards.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, said that, first and foremost, telcos should check the integrity of their communication infrastructure and locations and where their broadcast towers are installed.

"It is important that telecommunication companies ensure that their cables and buildings are safe when disasters occur not only because communication is vital during and immediately after disasters, but also to ensure that their facilities would be able to withstand a 7.2 magnitude earthquake," she explained.

The Senator noted that telcos already have a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) to develop a scientific research and monitoring system to improve disaster preparedness efforts in the country.

Legarda said that aside from this project with PAGASA, the telcos might be willing to be part of the government's information dissemination campaign.

"We appreciate the telcos' commitment to their corporate social responsibility. And it is with that commitment that we hope they would take part in the effort to inform the public of how to prepare for and what they must do during disasters," she said.

Legarda added that telcos can coordinate with the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) for timely and accurate messages.

She also said that citizens, on the other hand, should avoid spreading invalidated or hoax messages so as not to create unnecessary worries or panic to the populace.

"One of the biggest challenges in making our country disaster-resilient is communicating risk information to the public. According to the International Union, at least 75% of Filipinos have mobile phones. We can use this area of communication to equip our citizens with the necessary information they would need to be safe against disasters," Legarda concluded.

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