Bill requires mobile phone firms to send free disaster alerts | Inquirer Technology

Bill requires mobile phone firms to send free disaster alerts

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 04:03 PM February 26, 2014

AFP PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines —Senate President  Franklin Drilon is proposing up to  P10 million  fine  for a telephone company that will   fail or refuse to  send free early  warning  alerts to  its consumers or the  government when there are natural and man-made disasters and  calamities.

His proposal was among the amendments introduced by the Senate committee on public service when it endorsed Monday House Bill  No. 353, which mandates telecommunication companies to send free mobile early warning alerts in the event of natural and man-made disasters and  calamities.

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Drilon said the Senate is supporting the passage of the bill, saying it “would help achieve the main objectives of disaster preparedness which are to lessen the impact of the typhoon and ultimately save lives.”
One  of his proposed amendments in the bill is to penalize any telephone company which will fail or refuse to send out warning alerts, with a fine of P1 million to P10 million, or a revocation of its legislative franchise.

“Having been ranked as the third most disaster-prone country in the world, it is imperative for the Philippines to put up a mechanism to efficiently disseminate early warnings of typhoons,” the Senate leader said in a statement on Wednesday.

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Drilon said the government should be able to employ the most efficient and fastest way in sending out alerts in the event of an impending calamity such as a tropical storm, tsunami or earthquake.

Under the bill, the alerts should consist of updated information from the relevant agencies, and should be sent directly to the mobile phone subscribers located near and within the affected areas.

Sending out alerts through mobile phones, Drilon said, could be the most efficient tool given the fact that the Philippines recorded the highest number of cellular phone users in the world.

Based on the Business Monitor International (BMI) study, the Philippines is expected to reach 117 million mobile subscribers by 2016.

“As the texting capital of the world, we can greatly use the instantaneous, flexible and reliable short message service (SMS) technology as a potent tool during disaster situations – one that is intimately understood and easily accessed by millions of Filipinos who have cellphones,” he said.

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TOPICS: Disaster, mobile phone, Telcos, Telephone Companies
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