Tell it to SunStar: Assistance in case of emergency

SHOULD the police advise telecommunication companies to shut down due to any potential threat during Sinulog activities, the public could still have access to call for help in case of any emergency or exigency, still using their mobile phones.

But they must have installed the “Guardian Emergency Response” app and registered in the system now used by the Cebu City Government, advised Councilor Phillip Zafra, chairman of public order and safety.

Even if there will be no shutdown, the app will be useful should any incident needs to be reported and responded to during and after Sinulog, he said.

Android mobile phone users can download from Google Play then install the app for free, according to Cloyd Dedicatoria, managing director of SugboTek Inc., a homegrown software development company that created the app.

City officials sent off Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020, SugboTek field engineers that installed CCTV cameras supplied by Panasonic and WiFi access points, the company’s voluntary support to the City and its thanksgiving offering to the Holy Child Jesus.

Even in a shutdown, with SugboTek’s own internet gateway, this equipment could operate at key venues and along the route of the Traslación on Jan. 17, Jan.18 solemn procession and Jan. 19 grand parade, Dedicatoria disclosed.

Mobile van

Meanwhile, the officials witnessed the blessing of the Guardian command vehicle that will serve as mobile operation center (opcen), linked to the Multi-Agency Coordination Center at the Cebu City Social Hall during the Fiesta Senyor days.

Other than these two opcens, those now operational at Barangays Sto. Niño, Apas, Tisa and Poblacion Pardo and at Bantay Mandaue will form a mesh for a more coordinated response should any incident occur, it was learned.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) Communications and Electronics Service based in Camp Crame used the Guardian system during Sinulog 2019 when telcos were made to shut down their mobile and internet services in cooperation with the support of the National Civil Defense Network (NCDN).

Guardian started operating in 2017 on pilot in four Cebu City barangays. Mandaue City adopted it by late 2018 that earned the city last Nov. 26 the National Digital Governance Award under Customer Empowerment.

Cebu City got on board after Mayor Edgardo Labella signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with SugboTek last Oct. 30. Talisay City will soon follow after its legislature authorized Mayor Gerald Anthony Gullas Jr. to sign a similar MOA.

Mobile camera

The Guardian app alerts the nearest operating Guardian facility whose operator will call the mobile phone user for more details. While using a parallel software, it will dispatch emergency assets and deploy needed personnel, Dedicatoria explained.

Other than trained personnel and equipment from local government units and mandated government agencies, Guardian can further alert pre-registered volunteer responders, like physicians, nurses and peacekeepers.

They include members of NCDN, Radio Emergency Assistance Volunteer Organization (REAVO) and the Philippine United Emergency Rescue Services Alliance (PUERSA) who will be online with Guardian during this Sinulog, he added.

Guardian’s concept is to devolve reception of calls to emergencies in the barangay level whose operators know better the geographic details of their respective areas and can easily manage and coordinate with responders.

Guardian also supports offline mode and it could identify the location of the mobile phone user and the particular distress or assistance one would seek, and further view the situation through the latter’s mobile camera.

Backed by its mother company, 7Core Communications Inc., SugboTek has the capability to operate Guardian during disasters when utilities get shut off and provide the facility to help organize mandated and volunteer responders. (By SugboTek Inc.)