IN the past week, the Philippines has yet again experienced another catastrophe. From the 18th of August until the 22nd, a typhoon set foot in the country. It started as a Habagat (monsoon) which eventually turned into a tropical storm after a few days. What’s worse was that a Low Pressure Area (LPA) intensified the said typhoon causing heavier rainfalls throughout Luzon, especially in NCR and the Region IV-A.

In spite of this event, acts of charity sprouted from every part of the country. This was somehow a response to a similar event that happened last year – when a Habagat unexpectedly devastated the country. Different government agencies, NGOs, educational institutions and even student organizations initiated several relief operations. These institutions were able to replicate last year’s efforts by calling out for donations and distributing them to affected areas and evacuation centers.

On the other hand, assistance was not only shown through relief goods but also with the free services provided by numerous private companies. Smart Communications, Inc., the leading mobile telecommunications company, initiated “Libreng Tawag” (Free Call) stations in many evacuation centers. These stations gave free access to evacuees to call their families and guarantee their safety.

“Network preparedness is critical before, during and after disaster and emergency situations. Learning from past experiences, we have worked toward making our entire network and organization ready. And because of these preparations, our network was fully operational with only minimal disruptions.” said Ramon Isberto, Smart Public Affairs Group head.

There was a total of 25 stations in 17 cities and municipalities which were greatly affected.

Smart’s engineers also equipped their cell sites with high powered generators for long lasting service, in case of possible power shortage. They also ensured those areas which are usually outside the coverage that they can still use the coverage despite the weather.

Furthermore, Smart Comm. also had some relief efforts wherein they distributed goods to some affected areas. They also provided faster access to SMS and financial services the telecommunication company gives.

Through these actions, Smart was able to ensure that anyone may contact their loved ones in the middle of the calamity. People who are also stranded in the middle of the typhoon, especially the flooded communities, may easily ask for assistance. With this, it can really be proven that assistance during calamities is not limited with providing goods such as food and clothing.

News courtesy: http://www.philstar.com/telecoms/2013/08/24/1126431/smart-deploys-record-number-libreng-tawag-stations

Photo courtesy: http://www.rappler.com/bulletin-board/36957-smart-libreng-tawag-relief-operations-maring

Bulahan, Lyndon
Galeon, Francis Jake
Pestaño, Zenon

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