With numerous typhoons hitting the country every year, quick and efficient response before, during and after emergency situations becomes a necessity. In view of this, Globe Telecom has decided to partner with Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan (SLB), a Church-based, Jesuit-led organization, in tapping the power of mobile phones and the internet to reach out to Filipinos affected by disasters.
Through SLB’s E-Ugnay Disaster Management System, both Globe and SLB are able to take advantage of the next-level convergence of mobile and internet capabilities in consolidating information from all over the country, thereby, allowing on-ground personnel to act immediately whenever calamities strike. The mobile and web applications were developed by students from the Department of Information System and Computer Science of Ateneo de Manila University and later on taken over by the Ateneo Java Wireless Competency Center under Fr. Charlie Cenzon, SJ.
“The potential of the internet in this field of disaster relief is largely underutilized. On the side, the utilization of mobile phones for communication is heavy during disasters. But without a web portal to consolidate these vital information being exchanged through the mobile phones, coordination for timely action is not possible, thus, born E-Ugnay,” said Erik John J. Gerilla, SJ, SLB Acting Director.
E-Ugnay, an imperative “to connect” donors and beneficiaries, is the new portal for the Filipino spirit of “bayanihan” in the digital age since it allows partner organizations to send disaster assessment forms, request for relief goods and other data through a mobile phone application which will be consolidated by web-based application accessible online. The same data, tagged with geographic location of the user, can also be sent to the E-Ugnay server via a mobile application. The system would then save the data, organize the information geographically and display it on a map.
For instance, whatever information sent by authorized field reporters via their E-Ugnay powered mobile phones are processed by the system to track in real time the number of relief goods needed in a particular location as well as facilitate their timely delivery to affected areas. Pictures can also be generated and published on the website (www.e-ugnay.slb.ph) for public viewing.
“We are very glad to share our ICT competencies to a civil society initiative that increases disaster resilience by improving the coordination and communication of real-time disaster information, expanding donation channels, and connecting volunteers. Through this partnership, Globe and its employees hope to be more proactive in disaster relief efforts nationwide and at the same time showcase its network resiliency and innovative ICT solutions for Disaster Risk Reduction Management,” said Rob I. Nazal, Globe Head for Corporate Social Responsibility.
Responding to SLB’s call in their 28 Sept On-line Disaster Monitoring Map, Globe provided food packages consisting of canned goods, instant noodles, rice, coffee, sugar, and milk to some 400 families seeking temporary refuge at Daanghari Elementary School in Navotas as requested by SLB.
“With this innovation, we are confident in our ability to respond to emergency situations anywhere in the country. The system will become our main vehicle to disseminate information to our volunteers and potential donors, thereby, maximizing our limited resources during calamities and disasters. It is also an effective way of preventing or lessening duplicate efforts among the response groups,” Gerilla said
As the official technology partner for E-Ugnay, Globe provides infrastructure support that will enable E-Ugnay to run on the Globe network consisting of a postpaid mobile account; cellphone units for the E-Ugnay team, nationwide institutional hubs, and community-based partners; specialized SIM cards with discounted rates; and a PP240,000 grant for SLB to implement its planned training activities for 2011-2012.
Globe also pledged to donate its services during disaster relief operations through employee volunteers mobilization, fundraising support and GCASH services, Libreng Tawag for victims and families of affected communities, and Libreng Internet for E-Ugnay authorized field reporters.
Set to become collaborators of Globe and SLB are action centers and academic institutions such as: St. Paul University- Tuguegarao City; Lourdes College -Cagayan de Oro City; Marikina People Power Volunteers- Marikina City; Ateneo de Manila University –Quezon City, Ateneo de Naga University –Naga City; Aquinas University – Legazpi City; Diocesan Pastoral Council-Catarman, Northeren Samar; Social Action Center – Diocese of Borongan; Holy Infant College – Tacloban City; Ateneo de Iloilo – Iloilo City; Sacred Heart School – Cebu City; Father Saturnino Urios University – Butuan City; Xavier University – Cagayan de Oro City; Social Action Center – Archdiocese of Cotabato City; Ateneo de Zamboanga University – Zamboanga City; and Ateneo de Davao University – Davao City.