Congress of the Philippines passes emergency text alerts bill

Emergency text alerts are becoming increasingly common in the United States and Canada, but in the Philippines, citizens from every part of the country will receive these messages for free.

Earlier this month, the country's House of Representatives passed SB 353, commonly known as the "Free Mobile Disasters Alert Act" on the grounds that residents need to be informed about inclement weather sooner than they currently are, according to the Asia Pacific Future Gov.

This effort was led by Bayan Muna representatives Neri Colmenares and Carlos Zarate, who co-authored the document. On average, the Philippines are struck by 19 typhoons per year. These risks may be the norm, but the goal of this bill is reduce the number of fatalities after a disaster makes landfall.

Recently, the bill  also received approval in the Senate. The newly-enacted law will require cell phone carriers to provide complimentary emergency text alerts. If they fail to do so, cell phone companies will be fined $1 to $10 million  Philippine Pesos. Continued resistance may result in losing its legislative franchise, the Sun Star Manila reported. 

"Having been ranked as the third most disaster-prone country in the world, it is imperative for the Philippines to put up a mechanism to efficiently disseminate early warnings of typhoons," Senate President Franklin Drilon said on the passage of SB 353.

Text messages may come from government agencies like the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council and, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology. Text messaging services will depend on location, so Filipinos that live on other islands will not be bombarded with these messages.

While this may be a nationwide effort, smaller organizations can benefit from their own emergency SMS API. This timely and pertinent messages can be sent to your staff as soon as possible, saving confusion for all workers. Swift SMS Gateway has the tools to develop a SMS platform that works best for your staff and constituents.