The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) and PLDT wireless subsidiary Smart Communications have collaborated to make Iloilo municipalities better prepared for calamities.
Through a web-based short message service (SMS) advisory platform called Infocast, Smart and ADRA will enable the municipalities of Ajuy, Estancia and Concepcion to send news broadcasts, weather bulletins, and other critical information via SMS alerts.
Developed by Smart, Infocast is an effective emergency communications solution which allows the sending of alerts via text message for free and enables registered subscribers to connect with other Infocast members through text broadcasts using a common, unique access code. Crucial information can be sent to all Infocast subscribers, including the municipality and barangay’s disaster risk reduction management teams.
At the recent turnover ceremony in Iloilo City, Smart senior manager Nova Concepcion said, “Smart Infocast has been of great service to the LGUs and government agencies that use it. Through this partnership with ADRA, we hope to help the Yolanda-affected residents of Iloilo not only in preparing for disasters but also in rebuilding their lives.”
ADRA, the global humanitarian organization of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, delivers relief and development assistance to individuals in more than 130 countries, regardless of ethnicity, political affiliation, or religious association.
Following the onslaught of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” in 2013, ADRA has been helping improve the economic well-being of residents in Ajuy, Estancia and Concepcion by addressing causes of vulnerability and exclusion through their Restoring, Empowering and Protecting Livelihoods (REAP) project.
REAP, ADRA’s project with fellow Canadian church World Renew, aims to provide Yolanda-affected residents with resources to restore and strengthen livelihood lost during the typhoon, as well as develop alternative sources of income to reduce pressure on fishing and farming resources.
“The target beneficiaries are mostly fisherfolk, farmers and women—the poorest sectors in the Philippines and hardest hit by Typhoon Yolanda. These communities are trapped in poverty, highly exposed to climate risks and are not able to quickly recover from shocks,” said Thomas Pignon, ADRA director in the Philippines.
“Through Smart Infocast, we hope to improve knowledge and skills among the residents in dealing with disasters and protecting their source of livelihood,” he said.
More than 48,000 residents from farming and fishing households in the three municipalities are expected to benefit from the initiative, Pignon added.
Smart, under its #SafePH advocacy, promotes resilience and quick response during disasters through the use of technology and communications. It has developed other preparedness programs and solutions, such as the Batingaw emergency app, the ICT Bayanihan regional disaster communications summit series, and the TNT Tropang Ready youth readiness caravans, among other projects, in its efforts to reduce vulnerabilities.
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