PLDT’s mobile unit Smart Communications is working with Batangas State University (BatStateU) to enhance tsunami warning systems of seaside communities. Smart is integrating its Emergency Cell Broadcast System (ECBS) into the Solar Isotropic Generator of Acoustic Wave (Sigaw) platform to enable faster and wider dissemination of hazard alerts within communities.
Funded by the World Food Programme, Sigaw was created by BatStateU, in partnership with the provincial disaster risk reduction and management office and Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), to help warn residents in coastal barangays (villages) of possible tsunami.
Sigaw, which also means ‘shout’ in Tagalog, consists of a 10-foot-tall device, a control unit with a SIM and a siren, and a solar panel. It can send out text broadcasts and issue a siren alert when its sensors detect tsunami activity relayed by Phivolcs.
ECBS is a collaboration by Smart, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, and the National Telecommunications Commission. It was launched in March 2017, and has since been used to disseminate quick emergency alerts during typhoons and post-earthquake situations. Most recently, ECBS alerts have been sent to Albay residents following the ongoing eruption of the Mayon Volcano, which started last month.
ECBS operates on a channel separate from that used by calls and text messages or SMS. 17 Sigaw units have been installed in 13 Batangas municipalities. The plan is to deploy more units not only in Batangas but also in other provinces.