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PIA Press Release

Southern Leyte signs MOA with private sectors for disaster preparednes project using SMS technology

By Bong Pedalino

Southern Leyte (15 September) -- Governor Damian Mercado signed at his office yesterday a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), along with some of the corporate giants of the country, to establish a project that would institutionalize fast access of communication during inclement weather as a way of mitigating the ill effects of impending or sudden natural calamities.

Also affixing their signatures to the MOA were Chris Pablo of the World Bank, Ramon Isberto of Smart Communications, Rafael Lopa, Executive Director of the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), and Jazmin Gutierrez, another high-ranking PBSP staffer.

The MOA signing was done as one of the highlights during the launching of the project, which was officially called "Strengthening Disaster Preparedness of Southern Leyte thru SMS technology".

It will be a corroborative undertaking with Smart, PBSP, the provincial government, and the nine municipalities and one city of the provinces that stand as its pilot beneficiaries, with funding provided by the World Bank in the amount of nearly P 10 Million for a two-year project duration.

Among those in the audience who witnessed the MOA signing were representatives of the recipient local government units, such as Pintuyan, Liloan, Anahawan, Malitbog, San Francisco, Maasin City, Libagon, Tomas Oppus, Hinunangan, and San Ricardo.

Prior to the signing ceremony, Gov. Mercado explained that the absence of most of the recipient Mayors was due to a conflict of schedule, saying the date also their first meeting after having re-organized the League of Municipalities-Southern Leyte Chapter.

But two Mayors were actually able to join the launching, Mayor Maloney Samaco of Maasin City, and Samson Gamutan of San Francisco.

In a video presentation, it was learned that the project is a pioneering initiative in the country that will utilize SMS or text messaging through cell phones as a solution to communication needs of the province either in disaster preparedness or in responding to distress messages that need quick action.

The pilot ten LGUSs will also have five pilot barangays each as recipients of these communication tools from Smart, and it is widely seen that through this strengthened process, relevant information from the field can be easily sent to response actors at all levels of the community, from the barangay, municipal, or city level, up to the province, or vice-versa. (PIA-Southern Leyte) [top]

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