PH Emergency 911 gets 18.4-M calls in 2019 -- DILG

Calls from the Philippine Emergency 911 hotline kept coming in as it posted 18.483-million subscribers in 2019, up from the 1.46-million calls received in 2016.

According to Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo M. Año, the dramatic rise in calls received by E911 indicated that the public has become aware of this program that can be used for seeking assistance during emergencies.

Año said the DILG had taken bold steps to ensure public safety and crime prevention.

“We are happy that more and more people across the country have recognized the importance of calling E911 in times of distress and emergencies,” Año said.

“Growing by about 17-million calls in just three years is so enormous. However, it also comes with a greater challenge for us to raise the bar even higher in providing faster and better response to calls coursed through the E911 hotline,” he also said.

The E911 hotline is a community-based security and development program that provides quick response and emergency assistance to people in distress.

From Patrol 117, the program evolved into E911 in 2016 through a memorandum and was institutionalized in 2018 through Executive Order No. 56 signed by Pres. Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

Emergency calls coursed through the E911 include those that require police assistance, fire reports, medical assistance, search and rescue, and even those that concern chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive (CBRNE) materials.

Año said legitimate emergency calls are forwarded to the nearest Primary Service Responders and Major Support Service Responders, which in turn act immediately in coordination with the National Call Center.

Public discipline in making E911 calls

Año reminded the calling public to exercise discipline when dialing the 911 hotline, which is for legitimate emergency and public safety purposes only.

Of the total 18.483-million emergency 911 hotline calls received last year, 37,440 were legitimate calls; 16,763 were non-emergency; 9.716-million were incomplete calls, and 2.54-million were fraudulent, hoax, or prank calls.

The DILG Chief expressed dismay that 1 in every two calls received were incomplete calls that were either abandoned, disconnected, dropped, or garbled (robotic).

“We are urging the calling public to practice discipline in making 911 calls,” the Secretary said.

“For every prank or incomplete call that you make, there could be other people out there whose lives may be in danger or who need emergency assistance but could not go through because the lines are busy,” he added.

Victory Liner bus donation

Meanwhile, E911 Executive Director Diosdado T. Valeroso thanked Victory Liner, Luzon’s largest bus company, for donating a Nissan 49-seater bus unit recently.

Valeroso said the donation would significantly boost the Department’s goal of achieving a higher level of awareness of emergencies among local government units (LGUs).

“By converting its usefulness from a transport vehicle to a 911-on-wheels, it will be a live point of contact (POC) showcasing a telecommunication system set-up for LGUs to appreciate,” he said.

Valeroso said that partnerships with private firms and other stakeholders who are willing to donate resources for the program’s upkeep would enable the DILG to maintain a flexible emergency response system in the country.

“It is also with great hope that this will transform the Department’s mobile communications showcase into one dynamic communications infrastructure that is at par with international standards,” he said.

Aside from Valeroso, present during the turn-over ceremony was Victory Liner Operations Officer Aleks Briones, and their Legal Officer, lawyer Anton Kho.

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