• Prank calls swamp launch of 911 hotline

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    THE country’s first nationwide government hotline 8888 for citizens’ complaints and hotline 911 for emergencies kicked off Monday, but many of those who called were pranksters.

    The Philippine National Police (PNP) hotlines manned by 45 call center agents opened at 12:01 a.m. For the first seven hours, 2,475 calls were received.

    But, only 75 of these were legitimate calls, while 1,119 were dropped calls and 304 were prank calls.

    PNP chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa said policemen will serve as the first batch of responders to 911 calls.

    “I am calling all Chiefs of Police all over the country to be alert and respond to the calls routed to you by our 911 call center and to immediately provide police assistance to our people when needed,” Dela Rosa said in a news briefing in Camp Crame.

    President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the activation of emergency hotlines nationwide after its success in Davao City.

    Dela Rosa also asked the public not to make prank calls because the hotline is for emergencies.

    “I am also appealing to our people to refrain from making prank calls or test calls to our 911 hotline because this will clog up the lines and prevent the people with real emergencies to reach us,” he said.

    “We are currently tracking the prank callers and we will make sure that you will be unmasked,” a PNP statement quoted dela Rosa as saying.

    Those who will call the emergency hotlines will be charged P5.50 until an executive order to make it free has been signed.

    Callers may expect response in 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the situation and traffic.

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