PLDT wireless subsidiary Smart Communications recently supported the 2nd Business and the Big One forum, which was organized by the Corporate Network for Disaster Response (CNDR) and American Chamber (AmCham) Foundation Philippines.
Following the recent spate of earthquakes in the country, the forum aimed to address calls by the government to prepare for the possibility of a magnitude 7.2 earthquake coming from the West Valley Fault and/or the Manila Trench. It also identified structural risk reduction and continuity measures for businesses, as well as the four quadrants or areas that may be subdivided by the Big One, and the likely damage in each location.
In his opening remarks, AmCham Foundation vice president Chris Nelson urged the forum participants, composed of corporate executives and management teams, to be prepared for disasters, saying no reliable technology to predict earthquakes had been invented yet.
For his part, Renato Solidum, Department of Science and Technology (DOST) undersecretary, said, “Extreme preparedness is needed for extreme hazards.” He also encouraged the participants to have a “disaster imagination” by imagining scenarios and creating solutions.
Ramon R. Isberto, PLDT/Smart public affairs head and CNDR president, moderated the open forum, which was joined by Solidum, Association of Structural Engineers of the Philippines former president Adam Abinales, and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Crisis Monitoring and Management Center head Ramon Santiago.
“As a telecommunications provider, Smart needs to keep the service running, especially in times of disasters. We have provided continuous services and offered free calls and charging, and even satellite solutions, to areas affected by typhoons, earthquakes and other calamities,” said Isberto.
The forum also emphasized the need for families of employees to have their own preparedness plans. “This is a practical step to alleviate the situation. It may help us simplify things to make room for bigger things,” Isberto added.
Smart has been at the forefront of emergency preparedness and response in the Philippines, employing technology and communications as aid. The company has pioneered programs and mobile solutions to promote disaster resilience under its #SafePH advocacy, among them Smart Infocast, a short message service (SMS) advisory platform that enables local government units and agencies to send free text message alerts; the Batingaw emergency mobile app; the TNT Tropang Ready series of youth disaster preparedness caravans; and the Emergency Cell Broadcast System, which can send out location- and hazard-specific warnings through a dedicated channel, ensuring faster delivery of information.