“Communication is critical before, during, and after disasters. Establishing reliable lines of communication is very important in delivering aid and most importantly, in saving lives.”
This was emphasized by DSWD Secretary Virginia “Gee” N. Orogo after she inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Regional Emergency Assistance Communications Team (REACT) Philippines, Inc. and the Federation of Rapid Emergency Telecommunications Team (RETT) of the Philippines, Inc. to ensure the establishment of a resilient and reliable telecommunications during events of disasters.
Sec. Orogo signed the MOU yesterday together with REACT Phils., Inc. National President Joey A. Valencia and Federation of RETT Phils. President Ornan Vicente.
Also present during the MOU signing were DSWD Disaster Response Management Bureau (DRMB) Director Rodolfo M. Encabo, DSWD Information & Communications Technology Management Service (ICTMS) Director Felino Castro V, REACT Phils. Executive Vice President for Administration Gregorio Y. Pacifico, and RETT Phils. Vice President Lt. Colonel Edwin C. Sadang.
REACT and RETT Phils. both have unique Information and Communications Technology (ICT) capabilities that are vital during disasters.
REACT is a civic organization aiding the government and the people in times of emergencies through efficient communications, while RETT Phils. is a consortium of groups across the country that are equipped with both human and ICT resources that address communications, electronics, and information needs of emergency operations centers or incident command posts in disaster areas.
The MOU establishes an understanding between the DSWD and the two organizations to enable cooperation, coordination, and collaboration in ensuring resilient and reliable telecommunications that would aid in the delivery of timely humanitarian assistance during calamities.
Sec. Orogo expressed her gratitude to REACT and RETT Phils. for helping the Department strengthen its telecommunications capabilities.
“We thank our partners, RETT and REACT Phils. for helping us strengthen our telecommunications capabilities, enabling us to carry out a more effective disaster relief operation for our fellow citizens. I also thank other organizations and groups that have been instrumental in delivering much-needed aid to our kababayans. Let us continue to work hand in hand towards a more resilient Philippines,” the Secretary said. ,” she said.
Jamboree of disaster responders
The MOU signing was the highlight of the opening ceremony of the 2018 RETT Jamboree, a four-day exercise currently being held in JE Camp in Tanay, Rizal. Facilitated by the DSWD and RETT Phils., the jamboree focuses on the simulation of actual operations of emergency telecommunications in a disaster scenario.
The exercise aims to strengthen unified efforts and establish better working relationships among members of the RETT. It was participated in by the members of the DSWD’s own RETT, 2nd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, Laguna Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, and Quiapo Church Disaster Preparedness and Response Ministry. Members of the Institute of Electronics and Communication Engineers of the Philippines and REACT are also present in the event.
State of the art satellite
Being at the forefront of the government’s disaster response, the DSWD has been continuously improving its emergency telecommunication capabilities. Last year, the Department successfully conducted simulation exercises using the state-of-the-art satellite telecommunications equipment provided by the British mobile satellite company, Inmarsat, under the International Partnership Programme (IPP) of the United Kingdom Space Agency (UKSA).
The emergency telecommunications equipment, which can all be used anywhere in the Philippines, includes the Global Xpress® terminal, which is the latest technology in mobile satellite broadband telecommunications; the Automatic-Pointing Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) terminals; Manual-Pointing BGANs terminals; and the latest ISat2 mobile satellite telephones. ###