PLDT Inc. wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. has equipped over a thousand participants from the Visayas with safety and emergency response tips in the second run of the #SafePH disaster preparedness virtual caravan.
“The #SafePH caravan is our way of building a culture of readiness among Filipinos, especially those in hazard-prone areas, by delivering accurate information on various hazards and how to respond to them through an online, interactive platform,” said Oliver Odulio, Head of PLDT and Smart Enterprise Business Community and Resilience.
“This initiative is part of our #SafeandSmart advocacy, which underscores the role of communications in strengthening the capacity of communities to help protect, prepare and recover from the impact of the pandemic and natural disasters,” said Catherine Yap-Yang, Group Head and First Vice President of Corporate Communications at PLDT and Smart. The initiative aims to involve young Filipinos in community leadership and contribute to the protection of their respective communities.
Local officials, officers from the different disaster risk reduction management offices in the region, as well as SK Federations and youth organizations across the Visayas joined the virtual caravan.
Nagiel B. Bañacia, Officer-in-Charge of Lapu-Lapu City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office, highlighted the importance of communication and public involvement in the fight against COVID-19.
“In the absence of the vaccine, educating the public is one of our best weapons to address this pandemic,” Bañacia said. “We need to help them understand the problem by providing essential information about the virus and why it is important to follow health protocols. Apart from that, we must also use our funds efficiently to become more prepared and attuned to the present needs of our communities,” he added.
Bañacia also shared Lapu-Lapu City’s successful information dissemination campaigns including Crisis Communication and Community Engagement (CCCE), “Oplan Lungon”, and “ReCovida”.
Barangay councilor Kim Binondo of Barangay Liloan in Santander, Cebu, said that the caravan was timely and helpful as they are currently forming a group of junior responders in their community. “Our youth members have not yet undergone basic trainings on disaster preparedness, that is why this caravan is very relevant especially in our efforts to equip our town with disaster-ready youth,” said Binondo.
In observance of the National Disaster Resilience Month, Smart has rolled out the #SafePH online caravan now with more fun and exciting activities embedded in the event platform. This is Smart’s long-running advocacy program that aims to help the public, especially residents living in high-risk areas, prepare for and respond to natural calamities and man-made disasters.
The #SafePH virtual caravan covers discussions on emergency management, basic life support and first aid, and the COVID-19 health crisis were the highlight of the event. These talks were conducted by Louie Domingo, Director of Emergency Management Center; Von Ryan Ong, Acting Manager for the Safety Services National Headquarters of the Philippine Red Cross; and Dr. Miguel Mantaring, Medical Officer IV for Health Promotion Bureau of the Department of Health.
“At Smart, we are committed to continuously develop and deliver technology-abled solutions and services so we can live smarter and help build a safer and more resilient Philippines, and consequently, a #BetterWorld,” said Hoyle Raul E. Disuanco, Group Head and First Vice President of Smart Regional Customer Development-Visayas.
The #SafePH digital caravan is part of PLDT and Smart’s #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. The initiative also underscores the commitment of PLDT and Smart to attaining the UNSDGs, particularly SDG #11: Sustainable Cities and Communities.