[21 July 2014] The Office of Civil Defense-National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (OCD-NDRRMC) and Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) have jointly unveiled a mobile application for disaster risk reduction and management, called the Batingaw.
The Office of Civil Defense-National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (OCD-NDRRMC) and Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) have jointly unveiled a mobile application for disaster risk reduction and management, called the Batingaw.
As a result of the increasing intensity and frequency of disasters happening around the world, the need for tools that will not only strengthen public awareness on the importance of disaster preparedness, but also facilitate a nationwide system for disaster response and management, is underscored.
Batingaw, a Tagalog word for “siren”, is a pro-active, comprehensive and rational disaster management mobile application adopted by the OCD and NDRRMC as a communication tool to help reduce and mitigate the disastrous effects of natural and human-made hazards to vulnerable communities with the help of mobile technologies.
The mobile app can be used to give government agencies, organizations and individuals, immediate access to disaster warnings, advisories, location data, and disaster mappings. It features step-by-step instructions that can guide users to safety during disasters. The app also enables users to contribute information to emergency agencies more easily and quickly.
“The OCD and the NDRRMC continue to explore ways to inform the public on disaster risk reduction and management measures and systems to help save lives and properties. With this mobile application, we have added another strategy to reach out to people with helpful tools right at their fingertips,” said USec Alexander P. Pama, Civil Defense Administrator and NDRRMC Executive Director.
“We support initiatives that utilize the mobile phone as a tool for disaster preparedness. These days, almost everyone has a mobile phone, and this can be a valuable lifeline during emergencies,” said Ramon R. Isberto, head of Public Affairs Group at Smart.
“With Batingaw, the mobile phone now becomes a handy electronic resource that the public can use in times of emergencies. It provides basic information on how to reduce one’s vulnerability during disasters. It may also be used as a learning tool for preparedness for individuals, their families, and entire communities before, during, and after disasters,” added Isberto.
Batingaw is designed to run on smartphones and other mobile devices. It may be downloaded for free of charge via the App Store (for iOS devices), and the Google Play Store (for devices running on the Android operating system).
The presentation of Batingaw to the public came on the heels of the launch of the PINDOT mobile app in Legazpi City, which the Albay provincial government has embraced for its disaster management efforts.
Batingaw and PINDOT were developed by Cebu-based tech startup Tudlo Innovation Solutions, Inc. that was founded by Vince Loremia and his team.
The start-up came up with the mobile app, TUDLO (a Visayan word which means to “teach, guide or point”) during a coding marathon organized last year by the Smart Developer Network, Smart’s developer community program. It also emerged as one of the 20 finalists in the first national competition for the best tech start-up idea of the IdeaSpace Foundation, Inc., which Smart is supporting. Tudlo was among 10 Young Innovators worldwide chosen by the United Nations-backed International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Telecom last year.
“The country has become more vulnerable than ever to disasters, and the safety of the community is no longer the sole responsibility of the government. Even ordinary people can do their part by sharing accurate on-ground information that could help save lives, and proactively seek safety during disasters using their mobile device. This is what we hoped to achieve with Batingaw,” said Vince Loremia, co-founder of Tudlo.
Apart from mobile apps, Smart has also been utilizing the short messaging service (SMS) technology for disaster management. Its SMS-based service called Infoboard is also being used by the OCD, other government agencies, as well as local government units as communications tools before, during and after disasters.
Smart has been promoting the culture of preparedness not only within its ranks but also with partner communities, institutions and government.
“This partnership of OCD with Smart Communications is proof of the growing collaboration of public and private institutions for the benefit of our nation,” said Pama.
By linking the developer community with the government, Smart is able to put mobile applications like Batingaw into good use, helping improve people’s lives.