Senate passes bill on free text alerts during calamities
The Senate recently passed a bill that requires telecommunications companies in the Philippines to send out free text alerts to their subscribers in the event of impending calamities or disasters.
Twenty senators on Monday approved the House Bill (H.B.) 353, or the “Free Mobile Disaster Alerts Act,” which will require local telcos to send out free SMS alerts, early warnings, and other useful information like evacuation areas and relief sites during disaster situations. Telcos which fail or refuse to send free alerts will be fined of up to Php10 million.
The new bill aims to improve disaster response and preparedness in the country, especially in the events of typhoons, floods, earthquakes, and tsunamis.
“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,” said Senate President Franklin Drilon.