When disaster strikes communication is the key to moving food, medicine, clothing, and other emergency supplies to affected communities.
Rescue and relief workers as well as volunteers rely on fast, effective, and reliable communications technology to move these vital items to where they are most needed.
Efficient communication lines are also critical for all other concerned government agencies to coordinate efforts in providing other essential services to victims of natural calamities.
Finally, the flow of foreign assistance would also be efficiently managed to ensure their delivery to those who need it most and avoid waste and ensure beneficiaries needing them receive the vital supplies.
And so, Senator Sonny Angara has urged the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to fast-track the roll-out of emergency communications system in disaster-hit areas.
This year, the department has received P192 million for the purchase of six Mobile Operations Vehicles for Emergency (MOVE)--a flagship component of the DICT's emergency communications system to help make Philippine communities more disaster-resilient.
Angara, Senate finance committee vice chairperson tasked to defend DICT's budget, sponsored such inclusion of the six MOVE sets in the department's 2018 budget.
"One of the first casualties when disaster strikes is the communication infrastructure. Response to people immediately needing help and coordination among responders are impeded and delayed because they could not communicate," the lawmaker noted.
"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.
Under the said project, mobile emergency vehicles 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.