Senate passes bill ordering telcos to send alert warnings during disasters

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mobile alert House Bill No. 353, or the “Free Mobile Disaster Alerts Act,” was approved with 20 affirmative votes zero negative vote and zero abstention. Once the bill is enacted into law, Senate President Franklin Drilon said it would “help create an effective early warning system that will help achieve the main objectives of our national disaster preparedness strategy, which is to lessen the impact of incoming disasters, and ultimately save precious lives and valued property.” The Free Mobile Disaster Alerts Act, which was endorsed by the Senate Committee on Public Services chaired by Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr., mandates telecommunication companies to send free mobile alerts in the event of natural and man-made disasters and calamities. Mobile subscribers will receive the warnings at no cost to the government and the public. Drilon said the government must employ the most efficient and fastest methods of informing the public on impending calamities, such as tropical storms, tsunamis or earthquakes, hence the use of mobile phone technology. “As the texting capital of the world, we can greatly use the instantaneous, flexible and reliable short message service (SMS) technology as a potent tool during disaster situations — one that is intimately understood and easily accessed by millions of Filipinos who have cellphones,” said Drilon, who pointed out a Business Monitor International (BMI) study, where the Philippines is expected to reach 117 million mobile subscribers by 2016. Under the bill, the alerts shall consist of updated information from relevant agencies working on disaster management and shall be transmitted directly to the mobile phone subscribers located near and within the affected areas. ]]>

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