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Senate leadership backs bill on free text alerts during disasters

Posted On 2014 Mar 02
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Senate President Franklin Drilon supports the enactment of a supplemental budget to fund disaster rehabilitation in the wake of supertyphoon "Yolanda" which heavily damaged a vast area of the Visayas on Nov. 8, 2013. “We urge the President to certify the supplemental budget as urgent to look for resources to support the typhoon victims," Drilon said in a media interview on Tuesday (Nov. 19) at the Senate Bldg. in Pasay City. (MNS photo)

Senate President Franklin Drilon supports the enactment of a supplemental budget to fund disaster rehabilitation in the wake of supertyphoon “Yolanda” which heavily damaged a vast area of the Visayas on Nov. 8, 2013. “We urge the President to certify the supplemental budget as urgent to look for resources to support the typhoon victims,” Drilon said in a media interview on Tuesday (Nov. 19) at the Senate Bldg. in Pasay City. (MNS photo)

MANILA  (Mabuhay) – The world’s “texting capital” may soon use text messages to possibly save lives during disasters.

This is after Senate President Franklin Drilon committed on Wednesday to pass a bill seeking to compel telecommunications companies in the country to disseminate relevant information during disasters, without additional costs to the consumer or to the government.

Obligasyon ng mga telecommunication companies na magbigay ng early warning sa mga disaster at ito ay kailangan natin para mabigyan ng sapat na babala ang ating mga kababayan sa parating na bagyo o kung ano pa man, para makapaghanda sila,” Drilon said in an interview over dzRH.

On Monday, the Senate public services committee already endorsed House Bill 353, which seeks to penalize telecommunications companies which fail or refuse to send out free alert warnings with a fine of up to P10 million.

Drilon further said that text alerts can be the “most efficient tool” to send out information during disasters, since short message service (SMS) is widely used and understood in the Philippines.

“As the texting capital of the world, we can greatly use the instantaneous, flexible and reliable SMS technology as a potent tool during disaster situations, one which is intimately understood and easily accessed by millions of Filipinos who have cellphones,” the Senate President said.

In 2012, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) reported that around 500 million texts are being sent by Filipinos daily. (MNS)

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