Use of free SMS warning systems during disasters pushed by Casiño

Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño today said that the current finger pointing on the Sendong disaster would now be prevented in House Bill 5660 or the Free Mobile Alerts Act. The solon made the remark as the country’s top telecom firms said the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) had failed to issue an advisory that would have prompted the companies to send messages urging people to flee their homes and seek higher ground before floods swept their low-lying communities.

“With this bill government agencies should be the ones who should ensure the operationalization of sending out the free mobile alerts system and the telecom firms will just serve as their instrument. In the event of an impending tropical storm, typhoon, tsunami, or other calamities, mobile phone service providers are mandated to send out alerts at regular intervals as required by National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) and Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHILVOCS) and other relevant agencies. Now it is clear that it is all their duty to send out these free mobile alerts during disturbances,” said the progressive lawmaker.

“Also with this legislation there are clear penalties for not sending out the alerts or sending out false information,” he added.

“We hope that this will stop similar disasters from again occurring and that eventually it will save lives,” ended Casiño. # # #