27 barangays in Mandaue to receive satellite phones

·3 min read

THE Mandaue City Government is set to turn over satellite phones to the 27 barangays in the city and to the department heads who are members of the disaster response cluster.

Buddy Alain Ybañez, head of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO), said the City has purchased 37 satellite phones, 10 of which will be given to the department heads.

Among the department heads who will be provided with the device are those from the CDRRMO, City Social Welfare and Services (CSWS), City Engineering Office, Department of General Services (DGS) and Traffic Enforcement Agency of Mandaue.

Ybañez said the city government had long been planning to purchase satellite phones as Mayor Jonas Cortes and other city officials already foresaw the circumstances when a typhoon or any other disaster would hit the city.

He recalled how difficult it was to communicate with the barangay officials after the onslaught of Typhoon Odette (Rai). This is why he said that a satellite phone is a very vital device since it is connected to satellites, not to the cell sites that were toppled during the storm.

Each satellite phone costs P38,000. It can be used not just to text and call other satellite phones but also mobile phones and landlines.

Ybañez said it will be the city government that will shoulder the renewal of the satellite phones’ load which has a one-year expiry. He said the 37 satellite phones will be activated simultaneously so that the load will expire on the same date as well.

Not a priority

Meanwhile, following the criticisms of some netizens who pointed out that satellite phones are not necessary as of this time, Ybañez clarified that the City’s priority is still the relief and recovery of the city.

He said the City has not only purchased the device to distribute to the barangays. It also distributed chainsaws and heavy generator sets as well as relief packs consisting of rice and liters of potable water to the villages.

Generator sets

The city government has also started the distribution of one heavy-duty generator set to each of the 27 barangays amid the lack of power supply in some areas in the city.

Mayor Cortes said the heavy-duty generator sets will be used, particularly in barangays whose power supply is yet to be restored following the onslaught of Typhoon Odette.

Cortes said the generator sets will be used primarily for the free charging stations for the residents, lighting of the barangay halls and energization of the pumping stations in barangays that have water systems.

Standby power source

Once the city is fully reenergized, the generator sets will be used as standby power sources should another disaster occur in the future.

Casili Barangay Captain Vidal Cabatingan, for his part, said the generator set will be of great help to them in pumping water from the deep wells situated in the barangay.

He said while they have a lot of waterworks in the barangay and some of his constituents have their own cooperatives for their own use, he said these would not be of help if the barangay’s power supply is not yet restored.

Cabatingan shared that some linemen from Davao City have started a clearing operation, but they have yet to restore the power supply.

The village chief said Barangay Casili has a population of about 6,000 and Typhoon Odette has affected around 700 households.

As of Dec. 29, 2021, the Visayan Electric Company reported that about 31 percent of the city has so far been reenergized. (MKG)

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