Smart, GSMA to strengthen PH disaster preparedness

Smart Communications, Inc (Smart) and GSMA, the organization representing mobile operators globally, are pushing policies that would enable a whole-of-nation approach to disaster preparedness.

“The GSMA is proud to support PLDT and Smart’s work on disaster resilience in the Philippines,” said Kimberly Brown, Head of Mobile for Humanitarian Innovation, Mobile for Development, GSMA.

A number of key stakeholders, including PLDT and Smart, have gathered to discuss the role of mobile in disaster preparedness, response and recovery at the GSMA’s Humanitarian Connectivity Charter (HCC) Asia-Pacific workshop being held in Clark, Pampanga on Jan 24 and 25.

“We are pleased to work with the GSMA in advocating for a culture of disaster resilience in the Philippines,” said Cathy Yang, PLDT First Vice President and Head of Group Corporate Communications.

“At a time when the impact of disasters are heightened by climate change, we as network operators play a vital role in providing communications support before, during and immediately after calamities and emergencies, keeping disaster affected communities connected. In close collaboration with global partners like the GSMA and key industry stakeholders from government and the private sector, we can further enhance the country’s disaster resilience and help shape policies and protocols to ensure more efficient communications to the public whenever disasters strike,” she added.

The two-day global forum has drawn both local and international delegates, including representatives from international non-government organizations and mobile network operators (MNOs) from across the region, as well as representatives from the Department of Information and Communications Technology and Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation.

Smart was among the first operators in the world to adopt the principles of the GSMA’s HCC, which was launched in 2015. The HCC is a set of principles and best practices reached collaboratively between mobile network operators (MNOs) on how to prepare for, respond to, and recover from a sudden onset emergency. Since it was launched, there have been more than 160 MNO signatories of the HCC, operating in 112 countries.

Smart’s disaster preparedness programs have also been cited in previous GSMA HCC annual reports, including Smart’s Emergency Cell Broadcast System (ECBS), which sends out location- and hazard-specific alerts. Smart, one of the first adopters of emergency cell broadcast in the world and a pioneer in Asia, was also the first telco in the Philippines to deploy ECBS in March 2017.

Smart’s collaboration with the GSMA and support for the HCC are aligned with the PLDT Group’s longstanding #SafeandSmart advocacy, which promotes preparedness and immediate response through network resilience, continuous availability of communication services, mobile solutions and activities, and relief assistance to help communities mitigate disaster risks.

These initiatives underscore the commitment of PLDT and Smart to attaining UNSDG’s plans for sustainable cities and communities.

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