Monday, December 21, 2015

Smart offers communication support to 'Nona'-hit LGUs in Bicol
By Connie B. Destura

LEGAZPI CITY, Dec. 17 (PNA) -- Residents of villages in Bicol, especially in Sorsogon and Masbate, hit by Typhoon "Nona" may reconnect with their loved ones through the free calling and charging services made available by PLDT mobile subsidiary Smart Communications Inc. (Smart).

The "Libreng Tawag" services via Smart Satellite (SmartSAT) and “Libreng Charging” stations are currently available in LPMC Office, Rizal St., Sorsogon City. Smart will also set up free calling stations in some areas in Catarman, Samar where 90 percent of the population is affected by Nona.

The Samar Provincial Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Office is coordinating response and rescue efforts via SmartSAT.

In anticipation of the typhoon, Smart has prepositioned communications support for the use of local government units for emergency response efforts. It also deployed mobile phone and SmartSAT units to Alagang Kapatid Foundation of its sister company, TV5.

The telco provided SmartSAT to the Department of Social Welfare and Development to facilitate faster coordination of relief efforts, and extended communications assistance to the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office before Typhoon Nona made its landfall in Sorsogon.

Recognizing communications as an important form of relief, Smart has been consistent in immediately providing free calls and charging services during disasters.

Furthermore, as part of the Rapid Emergency Telecommunications Team (RETT) formed by the Office of Civil Defense, Smart has made a commitment to make available emergency communication links to help government and humanitarian agencies assess the needs of survivors and coordinate with each other better for more effective relief efforts to affected communities. (PNA) LAP/FGS/CBD/eds