Smart advocates preparedness among quake-affected Leyte youth

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by Smart Communications Inc. Aug 25, 2017

[25 August 2017] With the magnitude 6.5 earthquake that hit Leyte province last month, the need for disaster resilience has again become an urgent concern for communities.

As part of its #SafePH advocacy, PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications Inc. (Smart) recently headed to Leyte to promote the culture of preparedness among students.

The seventh leg of the TNT Tropang Ready Disaster Preparedness Caravan, Smart’s series of learning programs for the youth, was held at Eastern Visayas State University (EVSU) in Tacloban City.

Through lectures done “infotainment”-style, disaster preparedness experts from government agencies and other partner institutions taught EVSU students how to prepare for calamities, as well as what to do in an emergency situation.

The speakers demonstrated the proper way to do the “duck, cover, hold” technique; shared the contents a “Go Bag,” a kit meant to help an individual or a family survive the next 72 hours of a calamity (a flashlight, bottle of water, mobile phone with a separate battery compartment, garbage bag, T-shirt, flashlight battery, and other essentials); and discussed hazard maps and how to locate the safe areas following a calamity such as a typhoon, an earthquake, a tsunami, or landslide.

The attendees were also treated to interactive booths, games, and other activities that put emphasis on disaster risk reduction, such as making a paracord bracelet, which makes use of a sturdy rope and contains a whistle that can come in handy during emergencies.

It is said that the youth are the members of the society who are most vulnerable to calamities. But here at Smart, we believe in their capability to mobilize their communities in times of emergencies, through their knowledge of the latest technology,” said Ramon R. Isberto, PLDT and Smart public affairs group head. “We hope to empower the youth by educating them and making technological and communication tools available to them.”

The TNT Tropang Ready caravan is an enhancement of a series of trainings launched in 2013 to help communities prepare for disasters. The caravan has also been to the following universities: Batangas State University, Bulacan State University, Southern Leyte State University, University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines–Cagayan de Oro, University of Baguio, and Isabela State University.

Local, international citations

In recognition of its impact in the community, TNT Tropang Ready has been shortlisted as Best Engagement Campaign of the Year at the Responsible Business Awards by Ethical Corp., a UK-based group which provides intelligence to businesses around the world.

Smart’s disaster preparedness initiatives have also been cited in the Humanitarian Connectivity Charter (HCC) annual report of GSMA, an organization of more than 800 mobile companies worldwide. Smart is one of the four founding signatories of the HCC, which has since grown to over 100 mobile operator members and six humanitarian partners across more than 75 countries.

Among Smart’s disaster preparedness programs cited in the report are the Emergency Cell Broadcast System, which sends location- and hazard-specific alerts; the ICT Bayanihan series of regional summits organized to institutionalize rapid emergency telecommunications teams, and the Batingaw disaster management app by the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council, Tudlo, and Smart, which has been replicated in the Horn of Africa.

With the help of technology, Smart reinforces its mandate to help build more resilient communities and reduce disaster-related casualties.#

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