Emergency in Sarangani? Dial 117

11 Dec 2015
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ALABEL, Sarangani (December 11, 2015) – Sarangani activated SAR 117 Wednesday (December 9) launching the hotline ahead of all other local government units (LGUs) in the country a localized version of the nationwide emergency hotline Patrol 117.

Rene Punzalan, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer (PDRRMO), said SAR 117 is the “response of the provincial government to the mandates of Republic Act 10121 or known as the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010” in building disaster resilient communities.

The hotline, according to Punzalan, would serve as 24/7 “nerve center” for collaborative implementation in monitoring and addressing emergency and distress situations.

The idea of institutionalizing SAR 117, he said, is to have a “safer and disaster resilient Sarangani” thru a voice patch provided by Globe myBusiness that the province has partnered with in linking the public to various coordinating agencies responding to emergencies.

PDRRMO has been strengthening coordination down to its counterpart agencies in the municipalities. While Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Regional Director Minda Morante assured OCD’s support in reinforcing the “command, control and coordination” system within the seven towns and in reviewing operational procedures on the promptness of the project.

Last month Globe myBusiness and PDRRMO did the triangulation and mapping relative to the operation of SAR 117.

Accordingly, SAR 117 is limited only to Sarangani Province. Even General Santos City, which is located midway of Sarangani, could not access the hotline.

Gensan, though, has its own 727 emergency hotline.

Globe myBusiness Priority Accounts head Michelle Ora clarified if the caller is outside the triangulated area in Sarangani, a cell site would still pick up the call and will divert it to SAR 117 in Sarangani.

Hotline 117 is the Department of Interior and Local Government’s sanctioned hotline three-digit number across the country institutionalized pursuant to Executive Order No. 226 issued in 2003.

Ora disclosed phase two of SAR 117 project expects the rest of the neighboring provinces to also launch their hotline and to probably create a hub “so that anybody in this region, kahit saan ka they will be linked to each other.”

“You (Sarangani) are actually ahead of everyone else,” Ora revealed.

How does SAR 117 work?

Step 1. In reporting emergency or distress situations, dial 117 on your cellular phone for Globe and TM users, and dial 09178729014 for non-Globe users. Then state your full name, location and the emergency situation that needs immediate action or response.

Step 2. In receiving a call or report, an operator will answer the call and record all information given by the caller. Then the office will verify the report with the concerned agency, local officials or LDRRMO within the incident location.

Step 3. In referral for emergency response, after the validation of the report, the operations officer will refer the emergency to the concerned responding agency for immediate action. Then monitoring of the ongoing operations follows.

Board Member Elmer de Peralta, who represented Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon during the SAR 117 launch, said the governor is “fully aware of equipping our institution to enhance communication system in the province of Sarangani not only for peace and order but cutting across everything.”

The only challenge that the province could face in the future is the sustainability of the “effectiveness and functionality of SAR 117,” De Peralta said.

“But I am very confident of the capacity of PDRRMO staff in mitigating upsetting effects of disasters and accidents sa pamamagitan ng paggamit ng SAR 117,” De Peralta added.

The Province of Sarangani had bested other provinces in the region for two straight years as the Best Prepared Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council since 2014.

Sangguniang Panlalawigan Resolution No. 2014-8-065 has also been approved to back SAR 177 as beneficial in serving “as direct and fast conduit to report and respond to crimes, emergencies, rescue/retrieval situations, and similar conditions.”

It said “the provincial government has geared towards the establishment of a well-equipped communication facility that would immediately respond to emergencies in the province,” hence the PDRRM council has adopted the establishment of SAR 117.

The LGU has earmarked a total of P627,700 for the first year of implementation of SAR 117 which already included the PABX System, installation fee and the P40,000 monthly recurring cost.

In 2014, Sarangani launched the Emergency Hotline Text Connect System that serves as data banking and early warning information service to Sarangani constituents during calamities and disasters. (SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE/Beverly C. Paoyon)

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