TACLOBAN CITY– The Philippine Long Distance Telephone( PLDT)Inc. and its wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) scale disaster resilience in Visayas in 2023 as the group ramped up the deployment of Ligtas Kits in the region and provided immediate response to calamity-affected communities.

This year, PLDT and Smart distributed the Ligtas Kits, an emergency communications package, to eight cities and municipalities in the Visayas.

The local disaster risk reduction and management offices (DRRMOs) in the region can use the Ligtas Kit to augment their disaster preparedness and response.

The beneficiaries were Bacolod City and Silay City in Negros Occidental; Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental; Siquijor in Siquijor; Camotes, Cebu; Tagbilaran City, Bohol; Catarman, Northern Samar; and Borongan City in Eastern Samar.

“We remain steadfast in our commitment to help build more disaster-resilient communities through the services we offer, as well as other inclusive mobile technologies stored in the Ligtas Kit. We want to assure our valued LGU partners that we are with them in their goal to protect their constituents from various adversities,” said Marylou Gocotano, head of the PLDT and Smart Stakeholder Management- Visayas.

The Ligtas Kit carries a power station, solar panel, rechargeable megaphone, crank radio, satellite phone, smartphone, Smart LTE pocket Wi-Fi, rechargeable flashlight, and whistle.
The beneficiaries this year include the local government units of Bacolod City and Silay City in Negros Occidental; Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental; Municipality of Siquijor in Siquijor; Camotes in Cebu; Tagbilaran City in Bohol; Municipality of Catarman in Northern Samar; and Borongan City in Eastern Samar.

“Communication plays a big role before, during, and after a disaster. This kit will serve as our link to various agencies, barangays, and families so that information and assistance can reach them quickly,” said Emerald Guevara, disaster risk reduction management officer of Catarman.

Providing aid after a disaster is another way through which PLDT and Smart strive to assist communities in the Visayas.

In the second half of 2023, massive floodings occurred in some parts of Negros Occidental and Samar Island caused by torrential rains.

PLDT and Smart, together with their social outreach arm PLDT and Smart Foundation, immediately extended aid to affected communities by distributing relief packs and providing communication support to put up Libreng Tawag (free calls) stations.

A total of 1,000 relief packs were deployed to Bacolod City and Bago City in September, and 1,500 relief packs were also given to the flooded barangays in Catarman and Lope de Vega, Northern Samar; Jipapad and Arteche, Eastern Samar; and Calbayog, Samar in November.