Cebu town is pilot site for Japan-developed ICT system for emergencies

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The coastal town of San Remigio in Cebu, which was ravaged by Super Typhoon Yolanda, is now the pilot site for a moveable communications system which the Japanese government developed and donated to the tune of P10.6 million.

Photo shows (from left) ITU regional director Ioane Koroivuki, San Remigio mayor Mariano Martinez,    DOST sec. Mario Montejo, and ICT Office deputy executive director Nick Ojeda
Photo shows (from left) ITU regional director Ioane Koroivuki, San Remigio mayor Mariano Martinez, DOST sec. Mario Montejo, and ICT Office deputy executive director Nick Ojeda

If the deployment of the MDRU or the Movable and Deployable Resource Unit, will become successful, top officials said the technology will be also be installed in different of Asia where typhoons and earthquakes are common occurrences.

The MDRU is capable of providing telephony and Internet connectivity and can run on its own power supply or tap power generators or active power lines. It is a unit that can be quickly deployed to restore communications in communities in the aftermath of a disaster.

The MDRU was developed in Japan following the 2011 earthquake and was deployed in Cebu with the cooperation of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

“We can not afford not to have an emergency communications system during times of disaster,” DOST Secretary Mario Montejo said during the launch event.

Director General Kiyoshi Mori of the International Affairs Global ICT Strategy Bureau of the Japanese government said they are also looking into further expanding the ICT cooperation between Japan and the Philippines.

“After this we want to enhance this cooperation between our two countries,” Mori said.

The local government of San Remigio will also use the MDRU for non-disaster applications to maximize its use, such as providing Internet connection to the municipal hall and nearby schools

The MDRU donated by Japan comes in two configurations, the small version is the size of a .5m x .5m box that contains the necessary equipment and software necessary to provide basic voice and data communications within a small area for up to 500 concurrent users, while the attach? case version of the MDRU can do the same for a much smaller area.

The MDRU can also act as a data center since it has built-in Evacuee Management System, which allows relief workers, using smartphones or tablets, to track and tabulate those who have been displaced by a disaster.

The MDRU project in the Philippines was proposed and launched by the Nippon Telegraph Telephone group with support of the Japanese government and in cooperation with the DOST, and the Central Visayas Information Sharing Network Foundation Inc.

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