Drilon says Senate to support bill on disaster warnings
Marvin Sy (The Philippine Star) - February 28, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Senate President Franklin Drilon has given assurance the Senate would support a bill requiring telecommunications companies to send early warnings on disasters via text messaging at no cost to subscribers and the government.

The measure was introduced as House Bill 353, authored by Bayan Muna party list Reps. Neri Colmenares and Carlos Isagani Zarate recently approved on third and final reading.

Drilon said the bill would help achieve the main objectives of disaster preparedness to lessen the impact and ultimately save lives.

The Senate committee on public services has gone over the bill and has endorsed it for plenary debates.

“Having been ranked as the third most disaster-prone country in the world, it is imperative for the Philippines to put up a mechanism to efficiently disseminate early warnings of typhoons,” Drilon said.

Under the bill, telecommunication firms (telcos) would be required to send free mobile alerts to their subscribers in the event of natural and man-made disasters and calamities.

The alerts would consist of updated information from the relevant agencies and would be sent directly to the mobile phone subscribers located near and within the affected areas.

Sending out alerts through text messaging could be the most efficient tool, given the fact that the Philippines recorded the highest number of cellular phone users in the world, Drilon said.

“As the texting capital of the world, we can greatly use the instantaneous, flexible and reliable short messaging service technology as a potent tool during disaster situations, one that is intimately understood and easily accessed by millions of Filipinos who have cellphones,” he said.

In his own amendments to the bill, Drilon proposed to impose a fine of P1 million to P10 million or to revoke the franchises of telcos that fail to comply with or simply refuse to send out the alerts.

The National Telecommunications Commission said the telcos have initially aired their support for the bill, saying that sending out the text alerts would not entail additional costs on their part.

ALERTS BAYAN MUNA BILL DISASTER DRILON HOUSE BILL MESSAGING NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION NERI COLMENARES AND CARLOS ISAGANI ZARATE SENATE
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Recommended
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with