Sen. Poe to probe telcos’ ‘lapses’ during onslaught of ‘Karen’ and ‘Lawin’

CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija — Sen. Grace Poe took telecommunication companies to task on Wednesday over supposed failure to effectively alert people in the countryside on forthcoming disaster when the typhoons “Karen” and “Lawin” struck Nueva Ecija and other Luzon areas recently.

Poe, who led the relief distribution to typhoon victims in some places Nueva Ecija, including this city, said the Senate as part of its oversight function may look into such lapses.

“Such failure goes against the objective of the law to ensure the immediate dissemination of useful, timely, and relevant information in order to help our people prepare for natural disasters,” Poe said.

The lady senator has asked residents if they have received the warnings through their respective mobile phones to which most answered on the negative.

Under the law, telcos are mandated to send information to all subscribers through short messaging system in the event of impending calamities, Poe noted, but this apparently did not happen during typhoon Lawin.

“Our countrymen deserve to know who should be accountable for lapses in the release of mobile alerts on typhoon Lawin, which could leave residents unprepared for the onslaught of the disaster,” she said.

“Kailangan imbestigahan bakit hindi natanggap. Mahina ba ang signal? Kulang ba ng cell towers? O naging pabaya at hindi ginawa ang trabaho” she said, adding that such violation has corresponding penalty of up to PHP10 million and cancellation of franchise.

She noted though that the law was relatively new.

Poe along with Third District Rep. Rosanna Vergara distributed packs of relief assistance to typhoon victims here.