The national government is expediting the full adoption of the Japanese Integrated Service Digital Broadcasting Terrestial or ISDB-T System which is designed as a built-in emergency alert system for mobile phones and televisions during calamities.
Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr. during the KBP 39th Annual Top Level Management Conference on Thursday here, said one of the major challenges that relief and rescue workers in the field is facing is the absence of reliable communication services after the breakdown of power and communication lines, especially in the provinces and areas that were badly-hit by the typhoon.
> With this, Coloma said, the President has emphasized that the Philippines’ choice of the ISDB-T System is anchored on the built-in emergency alert system for mobile phone and television.
He also said the recent storm surge that ravaged the Visayas region prompted the national government to expedite the adoption of the ISDB-T system, which aims for zero casualties in times of calamities.
“ We bear witness to the fact that more than twenty typhoons strike in the Philippines every year. With six active faults, the country is situated in the Pacific Ring of Fire, thereby exposing the Filipino people to constant danger and adversity. The onslaught of Yolanda makes this even more imperative, “ the secretary said.
Apart from the cost-advantages, he said the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) ascertained the compatibility of the ISDB-T System with mobile devices, highlighting the importance of mobile communication in the daily lives of Filipinos.
The digital television format, he said, which is set to begin next year, proves to be efficient in emergency broadcasts during calamities as the Philippines is joining its ASEAN neighbors in the “digital shift” particularly during calamities.
The PCOO Secretary also appealed to the members of the KBP and to the NTC to play a crucial role in ensuring the full implementation of the ISDB-T system in the conduct of necessary public consultation, particularly in the promulgation of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the system.
The choice of the system, he said, was earlier announced by President Aquino to the Philippine media delegation during the recent ASEAN Summit in Brunei, Darussalam.
> “The country is learning from the lessons of its neighbors. Nothing could further exemplify the importance of ISDB-T system than what transpired Northeastern Japan in 2011 in the aftermath of the earthquake. Residents in the vicinity of the quake immediately received tsunami alert warnings and passengers of the Shinkansen bullet trains were able to disembark and to run for safety using the system. Moreover, residents in nearby towns were also able to receive warnings despite the absence of electricity. As a result, numerous lives were saved,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, Coloma said that as of Wednesday, 115,607 food packs have been distributed; donation and repacking centers across the Philippines — some working 24/7 — are ensuring that more are on the way.
He said that medical and surgical teams from the Department of Health are already working on the ground, and more are positioned to take off and set up satellite medical station in Region 6, 7, and 8.
The DPWH has been working nonstop to clear roads, so help can arrive sooner to deliver relief goods, he said.
He also thanked the genuine and massive overflow of support from people both here and abroad, donating relief goods from their own stocks and financial assistance, to relief drives organized by private citizens, to individuals mobilizing friends and family to help in whatever way they can, to genuine expression of sympathy and prayers offered for the country.
“We would like to thank humanitarian missions and medical teams from Japan, Belgium, the United States, Germany, Hungary, Israel, and Norway who are extending assistance to affected countrymen. We are also thanking the 28 countries, the European Union, and four international organizations which have pledged to help through financial assistance, humanitarian missions, donation of shelters, medicine, and other relief goods, the loan of vessels and aircraft, among others,” Coloma added. PNA