• Wounded soldiers eyed for 911 jobs

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    Soldiers wounded in battle and discharged because of disability would be engaged as 911 dispatchers as soon as round-the-clock Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) are rolled out all over the country.

    Representatives Johnny Pimentel (Surigao del Sur), Federico Sandavol (Malabon City, Metro Manila) and Edgar Mary Sarmiento (Samar) have jointly filed the proposed Warning, Alert and Response Network (WARN) 911 Act, or House Bill 2743, which seeks to establish the 911 hotline as the country’s perpetual repository of emergency calls down to the barangay (village) level.

    “We want anybody who dials 911 from any point in the Philippines, from any landline or cellular phone, postpaid or prepaid, with or without call load or credits, including payphones, to be able to make a distress call that is routed right away to the PSAP nearest to the caller,” Pimentel said in a statement on Monday.

    “Soldiers released from service on account of combat-related injury, including those who are wheelchair-bound, would be accorded priority training and employment as 911 dispatchers,” Pimentel, a member of the House Committee on National Defense and Security, added.

    The Duterte administration launched the Emergency 911 Hotline last August 1, replacing the 117 previously used by the Philippine National Police for crisis response.

    Now-President Rodrigo Duterte pioneered the 911 hotline when he was mayor of Davao City.

    “Our bill intends to build a whole system around the 911 hotline, with PSAPs in every region, province, city and municipality, and eventually in every barangay, that are closely integrated with local emergency and disaster response services,” Pimentel said.

    The system, according to the lawmaker, would have the capability to receive distress calls all day and all night, instantly match caller numbers with physical locations, efficiently evaluate calls and then send out highly responsive police, fire, ambulance and other emergency services, as needed.

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