Network services of Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) and Sun Cellular (Sun) continue to operate normally in most of the areas currently being affected by Tropical Storm Ruby even as cellular services in the worst-hit areas of Samar and Biliran have started to normalize.
Mobile phone coverage in the Northern Samar towns of Allen-Londres, San Isidro, Rosario, Bobon, Catarman, Yakal, Mondragon, San Roque, Laoan and Pambujan were restored Sunday evening shortly after the storm passed the area. Repair work is now under way in the coastal towns of Eastern Samar.
Even though Masbate was hit by the storm, the island¹s capital city and the municipalities were not cut-off. Moreover, service at the eastern towns of Cataingan, Pawican, Palanas, Nabangig, Dimasalang, Uson, and Badling were quickly restored.
All mobile phone cell sites in Romblon are working and operating normally.
Some of our restoration teams and equipment are already on the ground in Eastern Samar, and are already working on restoring services. The sites in Southern Samar: Marabut, Lawaan, Balangiga, Giporlos, Quinapondan, Gen. Macarthur, and Hernani are working and operating normally.
In parallel with service restoration, Smart is providing communications support to national and local government agencies.
In partnership with the city government of Cebu, the telco has set up a Libreng Tawag and charging station within the Cebu city hall this morning. Another station was set up in the city hall of Bogo in Northern Cebu, in partnership with the Archdiocese Rehabilitation and Relief Unit of Bogo City.
In Metro Manila, Smart and Sun have also set up a free call booth at the Malabon City Hall to service the needs of residents that were evacuated ahead of Ruby’s landfall.
Other teams in other provinces in the Visayas, Southern Luzon, and Northern Mindanao are on standby to provide libreng tawag and charging stations should the need arise.
The telco has already prepositioned equipment and personnel in Central Philippines late last week. It has also deployed mobile phones, Smart satellite phones, and load to libreng tawag coordinators in Central and Eastern Visayas, as well as Northern Mindanao. At least 25 portable generator sets will be deployed to Northern and Eastern Samar tomorrow to power libreng charging stations. Commercial power in both provinces are out. It has also provided communications support by way of airtime load, Smart Satellite Services, and Internet connectivity for key government agencies involved in managing disaster response activities. Key government agencies have also been using the Smart Infoboard, a web-based SMS solution, to send weather bulletins, updates and warnings, just to name a few.