Mobile ‘disaster’ alerts should be taken seriously

MANILA — Senator Grace Poe on Thursday reminded the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and the telecommunication companies (telcos) to assure that they comply with sending free mobile alerts to the public as tropical storm “Gorio” continues to intensify.

Poe made this call noting that reports have reached her office that mobile subscribers have not received any alert about the storm since it made a landfall on Wednesday.

“Disasters need not be of epic proportions before the NDRRMC and the telcos make their move and alert the people. The law was primarily crafted as a preventive measure so that the public can prepare and avoid casualties,” Poe said in a press statement.

She was referring to Republic Act 10639 or the Free Mobile Disaster Alerts Act which mandates telcos in the country to send free mobile alerts to subscribers before disasters like typhoons happen.

“These alerts should be taken seriously. Many rely on them to determine their course of action during disasters. Disaster alerts can save lives,” she added.

Under the Free Mobile Disaster Alerts Act, the information for mobile alerts should come from government agencies such as the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) and the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA). These alerts will be monitored by the NDRRMC.

The NDRRMC, with its equipment and experts, should be able to determine the situation on the ground and draft a clear alert that the telcos will send to their subscribers. Azer Parrocha/