As the Texting Capital of the World, it was only a matter of time before text messaging in the calamity-prone Philippines became a tool for disaster relief.
Filipinos can now expect to receive disaster alerts through their phones with the signing of Republic Act 10639 known as the “Free Mobile Disaster Alerts Act.” Signed by President Aquino last June 20, the new act requires the country’s telecommunication companies to send their subscribers free alerts and updates regarding calamities such as storms, typhoons, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions.
The alerts may either be through SMS, MMS, or e-mail, and shall be sent out at the discretion of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) and other concerned agencies.
Included in these alerts should be up-to-date information regarding the disaster, contact information of government units responding to the situation, hazard areas, relief sites, and evacuation centers.
For more information regarding the Free Mobile Disaster Alerts Act, click here.
Image from DOST Project NOAH.