PLDT and Smart’s all-in-one emergency communications package Ligtas Kit has reached the municipalities of Kapangan in Benguet and Bontoc in Mountain Province, boosting resilience among upland communities against disasters and emergencies.
“Through the Ligtas Kit and capacity development on emergency communication, we aim to augment the current disaster risk reduction and management practices of both municipalities,” said Mary Jane Francisco, Stakeholder Management Lead for Disaster Resilience at PLDT and Smart.
Situated in the uplands of Luzon, Kapangan and Bontoc are still recovering from the impact of the most recent typhoon Egay which destroyed homes and livelihoods due to landslides and flooding.
Home to nearly 20,000 residents, Kapangan is a fourth-class municipality heavily reliant on agriculture and tourism as its main source of income.
“Because of available sources of information, including television, radio, and now our smartphone, we heard about the typhoon and somehow knew what was coming.
This enabled our community to prepare ahead. We were able to safeguard our farm and save some of our crops,” said Jerico Vicente, another Kapangan farmer.
“We highly prioritize capacity building in our municipal resilience plan. We have seen notable changes in the way our communities have prepared for and responded to disasters through adapting to various communication systems.
This has also been strengthened by our collaboration with other sectors like PLDT and Smart through the Ligtas Kit,” said Kapangan Mayor Manny Fermin.
Bontoc, the provincial capital of Mountain Province, houses not only its own residents, but also those from neighboring areas who have moved to the town for trade and education.
The town has also been declared to be in a state of calamity during typhoon Egay.
“Bontoc is a special place bounded by mountains so there will always be that possibility of being isolated when landslides due to typhoon occur.
Communication enables us to coordinate with the national government and other provinces and update them of our status during disasters.
Our residents also need communication, especially those from neighboring towns, so they can reach and connect with their family and loved ones,” said Bontoc Mayor Jerome Tudlong, Jr.
He added, “with these communication tools in the Ligtas Kit given to us, we will work towards reducing the impacts of these disasters and protecting our communities.
We thank PLDT and Smart for choosing Bontoc, one of the few Cordillera towns, to receive this kind of technology.”
The Ligtas Kit is part of the PLDT Group’s #SafeandSmart advocacy through inclusive communication technology and is also aligned with the UNSDG #11: Sustainable Cities and Communities.