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DICT boosts communication services in aftermath of typhoon Goni

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is helping facilitate information and communication services in Catanduanes, Albay, and other areas dealing with the aftermath of the typhoon Goni.

Goni or Rolly as it is known in the Philippines is considered to be the strongest tropical typhoon of the year. It made landfall on Catanduanes, Albay, Camarines Sur and neighbouring areas of Quezon province on 1 November, leaving the Bicol Region devastated in its wake.

To aid the affected areas, DICT’s Albay Provincial Office is offering free internet and charging services to Albayanos. Their office is located in Legazpi City. Individuals can avail of the free services within the vicinity, provided they observe proper health protocols.

Further, in Pandan, Catanduanes, select free Wi-Fi sites remain operational, offering connectivity services as globe and smart telecommunication services remain down within the locale. The department is also undertaking other initiatives to aid connectivity services in typhoon-hit areas from other regions. The DICT’s Luzon Cluster III (LC3) had installed emergency backup Internet connections in the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) MIMAROPA Regional Office located in PEO Compound, Kumintang Ilaya, Batangas City. The backup service aims to ensure uninterrupted connectivity services for the government office.

Restoring communication lines are crucial as electricity and telecommunication lines in the worst-hit areas remained down as strong winds caused substantial damage to electric posts and other infrastructures. The OCD stated that around 53,863 homes were left without electricity following the typhoon’s landfall.

While telco lines had been restored in Camarines Norte, Sorsogon, and Naga City, Catanduanes still lacked access to electricity, running water, or telecommunications. Albay Power and Energy Corporation (APEC) also released a statement recently that estimated a possible 2-month period to fully restore power in Albay province due to severely damaged transmission lines.

Communication and access to information are crucial, especially in areas badly hit by typhoon Rolly. DICT is fast-tracking its efforts to help Filipinos get their much-needed aid and is closely working with other government agencies in expediting the rebuilding of infrastructure in the affected areas—to reconnect the people to the rest of the country, DICT Secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II said.

The forecasting, planning, and management of critical events help authorities prevent disruption of life and damage to property. Governments rely on several, specific systems for critical event management. Such programmes are essential to national well-being especially with the increase in natural disasters. But, more often than not, they operate in isolation of each other. According to world experts in Critical Event Management – Everbridge, this approach can create duplication in information and processes, data contradictions, and, when unchecked, could lead to loss of life and damages.

Unlike fragmented or homegrown tools, Everbridge offers the most proven modern public warning platform which delivers best of breed capabilities to help governments and public authorities keep people safe before, during, and after critical events, anytime and anywhere in the world. The Everbridge Public Warning platform delivers the most comprehensive, flexible, and modular solutions for population alerting to suit the needs of each city, state, or country.

The Everbridge front-end alerting gateway can be deployed as a standalone solution through to more sophisticated hybrid or multi-channel systems. This combines cell broadcasts or location-based SMS technology to send targeted alerts to mobile phone users, through to secondary channels including mobile apps, emails, SMS, voice calls, sirens, radio, television, social media, and opt-in address-based systems.

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