NDRRMC, Smart to conduct emergency broadcast trials in Luzon


MANILA — The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council and Smart Communications will conduct emergency cell broadcast system (ECBS) in Luzon in the next few weeks as part of disaster preparation strategies.

Smart said a pilot test of ECBS will be held in Baguio City on March 17 to coincide with a disaster caravan, both of which forms part of the company’s initiatives under its #SafePH advocacy.

The ECBS is a public warning system that sends emergency alerts quickly to a large number of mobile devices within a target area. Smart said they have conducted prior testing in Mindanao, Visayas, and Metro Manila.

“Unlike SMS or text service, ECBS has its own dedicated broadcast channel, ensuring sustained broadcast alerts even when the network receives heavy traffic from all the calls and messages that are usually made during disaster,” said Ramon Isberto, PLDT-Smart head of public affairs.

ECBS messages are also immediately flashed on a screen accompanied by a warning sound. A number of mobile phones, however, can only receive such alerts when the cell broadcast feature is turned on.

“Please bear with us. We realize that these tests will probably surprise some of our subscribers, especially those with handsets that have an alarming sound,” Isberto said. “But it is necessary for us to conduct these tests in order to be sure that the system works properly.”

NDRRC executive director Ricardo Jalad said in the same press release that the technology could help their agency “in providing timely, hazard-specific and location-sensitive warnings to our people.”

Smart said they have invested P500 million in ECBS through their capital expenditures last year for modernization.

InterAksyon.com is the online news platform of TV5, which is also part of the PLDT group.