Cebu News

Cebu City to launch 911 hotline

Iris Hazel Mascardo - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — The Cebu City government is launching a 911 hotline next month just in time for the Palarong Pambansa 2024 that would complement the integration of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras around the city to be able to establish a faster disaster response.

In a press conference yesterday, an actual simulation of when 911 was being dialed was enacted. The simulation was led by Robert Llagono, country manager of Next Generation Advanced 911 (NGA).

On the same day, the notice to proceed was awarded to the system’s contractor NGA 911, with a P9 million budget appropriation.

According to Llagono, the current 911 hotline in the Philippines will prompt questions, such as the callers’ specific location before actually transferring the call to a handler.

In this incoming 911 hotline, Llagono said that it would allow the callers’ location to be accessed immediately upon receiving through a Wireless Fidelity (WiFi) internet connection. He, however, said that they are developing the system so it can be used with fiber with two redundancy systems.

As shown during the simulation, upon picking up the call from 911, the user interface showed the exact location where the caller was from.

“It will actually tell you not just the location of your caller but it will actually tell you where your closest responders are,” said Llagono referring to the screen of the user’s interface.

Comparing it with a similar system in the US, Llagono said the dispatcher can immediately track the location within a minute of picking up the call without actually asking where the location is.

While the response team is en route, it is only when the type of emergency and the circumstance will be obtained hence reflecting the urgency of handling the call.

According to Llagono, this will be the same system that Cebu City will be achieving soon through this hotline.

Further, the con-handling system will also allow the user to capture all the history of the calls.

“So a big challenge or a big problem in any co-handling system at the moment especially for 911 is the numerous prank hoops abandoned calls, in this case, you will be carrying the history of these calls since time immemorial,” said Llagono.

The system also includes a rule in itself if the prank calls are shown multiple times, they can be routed to a separate queue particularly a dispatch for law enforcement.

Aside from this, the system also allows the dispatcher to digitally tag the response team that they are collaborating with. To cater to this, the system is provided with “unlimited storage” that can record all calls regardless of the length.

Llagono assured that as they further develop the innovation, the public can contact 911 through SMS or instant messaging.

Currently, the implementation stage is still ongoing. Llagono however said that onwards, the system would also allow access to the government-installed CCTVs.

“But not only that, if you have villages, businesses that you would wanted to integrate your cameras with, get an MOU and get them here, so you don’t have to maintain those cameras,” said Llagono.

Llagono said they will be providing Cebu City with redundancies to ensure an uptime guarantee of 99.9 percent. To do this, they will be providing the city with its own Emergency Service IP network.

This would then allow all emergency calls to be coordinated from the national level to City Hall through the said network.

This emergency service IP network will have a minimum of three redundancies namely - to secure fiber, which they will maintain and pay for; an LTE network as a backup;  and lastly, a Starlink network or circuit, which will be installed to ensure that regardless of what happens to the command center, it will be the last to go down.

All this innovation is expected to be ready just in time for the hosting of the Palarong Pambansa 2024 this July.

Dax Arcilla, head of the Management Information and Computer Services (MICS), said that they are also working on integrating the system with the CCTV cameras around the city. The system will be operated by the disaster’s office that will include an organization structure. (CEBU NEWS)

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