Telco provider introduces new hotline platform for COVID-19 questions, concerns

September 2, 2020 - 7:09 PM
Smart provides banners to help spread information about the hotline (Released)

A telecommunication provider launched a new platform to provide local government units an additional communication channel for novel coronavirus concerns.

The Project Hotline platform is a wireless solution package that Smart-PLDT could help residents, local officials and frontline responders report infections and address related problems amid the pandemic.

“Project Hotline is part of our efforts to ensure that LGUs are equipped with reliable connectivity during these trying times. By providing our partners with a platform to send and receive community messages, Smart helps LGUs to better address the public health needs of their communities during this pandemic,” said Jane Basas, SVP and Head of Consumer Wireless Business at Smart.

This project includes a free smartphone, a Smart Prepaid or TNT SIM, and a substantial free data load allocation good for six months.

Designed for nationwide use, the telecom provider is also helping local officials spread this innovation by setting up banners in strategic public places.

This communications channel is in line with the Department of Health’s emergency hotlines for COVID-19 which was launched last March and in partnership with PLDT.

Filipinos can call 02-894-COVID (02-894-26843) and 1555 for queries on symptoms and for assistance in case of exposure to a confirmed COVID-19 case.

Current embattled Health Secretary Francisco Duque III reminded the public back then that health authorities may online accommodate “relevant and important calls.”

“We ask for the public’s cooperation and patience to allow only relevant and important calls to go through. In that way, we can provide timely medical assistance to those who really need it,” Duque said.

Smart stated that Project Hotline also complemented its other initiatives:

  • Smart Infocast Service — a web-based text broadcast solution
  • Smart Emergency Cell Broadcast System (ECBS) — a platform that can quickly send public warnings to mobile phone users in specific areas
  • Batingaw emergency app — a mobile application that provides government agencies, organizations, and individuals, immediate access to disaster warnings, advisories, location data, and disaster mappings

These are all part of Smart’s #SafePh campaign that empowers the public in using technology for communications and helping mitigate the risk of disaster in communities.

Moreover, Smart also noted that these efforts are part of the company’s commitment to supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), particularly the 9th UN SDG on Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure, through building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and fostering innovation.