Interior Secretary Eduardo Año is pushing for the establishment of alternative forms of communications like high-frequency radio to ensure constant communications between local government and national government authorities in times of disasters.
“Aside from high-tech communication systems like cellphones, satellite phones, we must have an alternate or backup systems like high-frequency radio systems that do not rely on cell sites and sophisticated relay stations but rather on a simple setup that ensure continuous communication with island or isolated local government units (LGUs) during disasters and calamities,” Año said in a message to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) Tuesday.
Officials from the national government had to fly in a satellite phone and its associated systems on Monday to be able to communicate with Catanduanes officials as Super Typhoon Rolly damaged communication lines when it struck the province on All Saints’ Day.
He added that acquisition of these backup communications systems can be sourced from the calamity funds of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council and the Office of Civil Defense or even from the LGUs themselves.
The DILG chief said having alternative communication systems could be the difference between life and death for affected communities.
Also, he added that high-frequency radio systems are relatively cheaper than the more modern satellite phones and are much easier to repair when damaged.
Before noon on Monday, an emergency telecommunications team from the Office of Civil Defense along with their very small aperture terminal (VSAT) equipment was deployed in Catanduanes and was able to restore satellite and data communications network in the province. (PNA)