PLDT Inc. (PLDT) through its wireless arm, Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart), was recognized last Friday, March 11, 2022, for its outstanding role and performance when Typhoon Odette ravaged the provinces in the Visayas and Mindanao.
In a simple ceremony held at the Alicia Hall of the Golden Prince Hotel in Cebu City, DICT Secretary Manny Caintic and DICT Undersecretary Allan Silor cited the exemplary performance of Smart in providing communications service to communities hit hard by Typhoon Odette.
“Odette’s damage to infrastructure was far greater than what Yolanda wrought, but with the help of our partners in the private sector like Smart, the government was able to restore communications to towns and provinces that were completely cut-off,” Sec. Caintic said.
Usec. Silor, on the other hand, said that “the immediate deployment of Smart’s quick response teams complemented DICT resources under its Government Emergency Communications System-Mobile Operations Vehicle for Emergency (GECS MOVE) program, a rapid deployable emergency communications system that aims to provide ICT-enabled support to disaster-stricken areas in the country.”
During the event, other DICT Regional Directors also recounted their Typhoon Odette experiences and how Smart and its CSR programs helped the communities with their basic needs and not just communications.
Present to receive the recognition were Anthony Fernandez, Smart’s Manager for Regulatory Affairs and Kent De La Calzada of PLDT Enterprise Group who are coordinating the over-all restoration of PLDT lines in the province.
As a partner especially during times of disaster, Sec. Caintic said that “the government cannot thank Smart enough for its service to the country when Odette ravaged the lives, businesses and homes of our kababayans. Thank you Smart for helping enable government to deliver emergency response to the farthest communities as soon as communications were restored.”
“Though challenged with approximately 700 kilometers of aerial fiber cable impacted, 50 collapsed cell towers, and 129 damaged sites, we were first to restore in worst-hit areas thanks to our network team’s quick action,” said Alfredo S. Panlilio, President and CEO of PLDT and Smart.
Apart from restoration efforts, relief aid from PLDT group for areas severely affected by Typhoon Odette benefitted 25,512 families. “We also reconnected thousands of residents with 72 free call, charging, and WiFi stations,” Panlilio added.
Disaster preparedness and relief response initiatives of various units across PLDT and Smart, as well as social outreach arm PLDT-Smart Foundation, underscore a group-wide thrust of creating a #SafeandSmart Philippines.