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Sonny Angara urges gov’t to speed up repair of telco facilities in Ompong-hit areas


Senator Sonny Angara on Sunday urged the government to fast-track the roll-out of emergency communications system in areas battered by typhoon “Ompong.”

“One of the first casualties when disaster strikes is the communication infrastructure,” Angara said.

The damage caused by Ompong in the northern provinces underscored the need for an effective communication system in place to help the government in disaster response, he said.

He said that the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has an emergency communications program called Mobile Operations Vehicles for Emergency (MOVE).

MOVE, which aims to make communities more disaster-resilient, is equipped with one pick-up truck and one motorcycle that will bring connectivity to first-responders in ground zero.

“Hopefully, the DICT will be able to implement this project at the soonest possible time,” Angara said.

The DICT received P192 million for the purchase of six MOVE this year.

Under the said project, MOVEZ will be made available initially in strategic areas such as the National Capital Region, Clark, Batangas, Cebu, Cagayan De Oro and Davao City for easier access of nearby provinces needing it.

Future roll-out sites include Bicol, Tuguegarao in Cagayan, Samar and Zamboanga City.

“Response to people immediately needing help and coordination among responders are impeded and delayed because they could not communicate,” Angara said.

“By putting in place the MOVE project, we will be able to provide a communication system crucial in delivering help and services and in saving lives,” he added.

Based on the DICT’s plan, each MOVE set has one six-wheeler truck which will serve as the command and control center to coordinate efforts of the first-responders and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

MOVE would also serve as base station near evacuation centers to provide evacuees connectivity with their loved ones.