Isaias Macalinao, 56, felt helpless when he lost four of his nephews and nieces to the landslide that hit Barangay Tina-an, Naga City, Southern Cebu on Sept. 21.
Macalinao, a resident of Sitio Sindulan where the landslide hit the hardest, had no means to communicate with his relatives after he lost his cell phone during the calamity that destroyed homes, including his own.
“I have no way of contacting our relatives on our situation. I want to seek their help so we can take care of my dead nephews and nieces and give them a good burial,” Macalinao said in Cebuano.
Macalinao was soon able to get in touch with their relatives with the help of the Libreng Tawag and Charging (free calls and charging) stations set up by Smart Communications outside the Enan Chiong Activity Center (ECAC), which was turned into an evacuation site.
Apart from ECAC, Libreng Tawag and Free Charging Stations were also deployed at two other evacuation centers—at the Naga Central Elementary School in Barangay North Poblacion, and the Naalad Elementary School in Barangay Naalad.
Smart immediately set up the Libreng Tawag and Charging Stations at the evacuation centers so the evacuees could contact their relatives on their situation. Mobile users were also able to connect with their loved ones with the free Wi-Fi set up by PLDT Fibr.
Grace Ocampo, another evacuee from Sitio Sindulan, said the service provided by Smart was of great help in contacting her relatives outside of Cebu.
“We would not have been able to contact our relatives if not for Smart’s help. I feel so helpless as we just lost our house to the landslide and we needed to contact our relatives for immediate help,” Ocampo said in Cebuano.
Food packs were distributed to volunteers and affected families by employee volunteers of Smart, who also served hot meals to families stationed at the evacuation site in Cabungahan, Naga City.
Smart deploys communications and relief assistance to affected residents during calamities. These services are part of the company’s #SafePH advocacy, which aims to use technology to boost disaster preparedness and response.