Philippines telco PLDT and wireless subsidiary Smart Communications say they have expanded their Ligtas Kit programme nationwide, with 58 kits now deployed to municipalities and cities in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao to provide resilient communications during natural disasters.
The PLDT-Smart Ligtas Kit is an all-in-one communications package designed to extend fast, emergency communications support to communities during disasters or emergencies.
Each Ligtas Kit comes bundled with emergency communications training programmes, in partnership with Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF), which will be conducted to boost the preparedness, response, and recovery capacities of localities and residents.
PLDT/Smart says more Ligtas kits will be rolled out in the coming years through partnerships with PDRF, the PLDT-Smart Foundation (PSF) and other organizations.
The Philippines is highly vulnerable to natural disasters – particularly typhoons. On average, 20 typhoons strike the country every year, and typhoons in the region are becoming increasingly powerful due to climate change.
"Communication plays a big role before, during, and after a disaster. This kit will serve as our link to various agencies, barangays, and families so that information and assistance can reach them quickly," said Emerald Guevara, Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (DRRMO) Head of Catarman, Northern Samar.
Alex Arana, Surigao del Sur DRRMO Head, added that the Ligtas Kit’s power set and satellite phone “will serve as back up in times of power outage and signal downtime. This will also enable us to set up Libreng Tawag to help connect evacuees with their loved ones, which is one important way to comfort them amidst disasters.”