PLDT, Inc. and Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) have reconnected more areas in the Visayas and Mindanao after the onslaught of super typhoon #OdettePH.
In Mindanao, restoration of wireless services is nearly complete at 96% while fixed services are almost fully restored at 99%. But major restoration activities are still ongoing in Surigao del Norte including Siargao, Misamis Oriental and Dinagat Islands.
For Visayas, 85% of wireless services have been restored while fixed services are up at 69%. Major areas for restoration remain in Cebu, Bohol, Leyte and Negros provinces. The prolonged delay in resuming commercial power supply in Cebu and difficulty in procuring fuel for gensets to power up telco facilities are stalling the speed of restoration in the Visayas.
Restoration efforts in full swing
PLDT and Smart have sent additional personnel and equipment to Siargao and Palawan, ready to commence repair works once the roads have been cleared of felled trees.
Tapping its air transport arm Pacific Global One Aviation, PLDT chartered its first two flights today to Palawan and Siargao. Taking off from Manila, a chartered Agusta Westland helicopter flew a Smart engineer bringing with him additional satellite dishes, satellite phones, and other network equipment to Puerto Princesa in Palawan.
Departing Manila at 2:15 p.m., PLDT’s Super King Air 350 ferried Smart engineers and carried mission-critical equipment on a three-leg journey from Manila to Siargao to Cebu. Both chartered flights have arrived in their respective destinations.
Communication as aid
Aiding with urgent communication needs, Smart Communications, Inc. has activated more Libreng Tawag and Charging (Free Calls and Charging) stations across the Visayas, in these areas:
- PLDT Office in Tipolo, Mandaue
- Biasong, Talisay City
- PLDT Office, Mactan, Lapu-Lapu City
- Pagtimbayayong Foundation, Cebu City
- J Clarin St., Tagbilaran City, Bohol
- Evacuation Center, Brgy. Balocawehay, Abuyog, Leyte
- Tomas Oppus St. Brgy. Tagnipa, Maasin City
- Asuncion, Maasin City
- Kabankalan, Negros Occidental
- Villamonte, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental
- Sipalay, Negros Occidental
- San Vicente, Baclayon, Bohol
PLDT and Smart are setting up more free calls and charging stations across the Visayas and Mindanao in the coming days.
Customers receive reprieve
In the wake of connectivity disruptions brought on by typhoon Odette, PLDT is giving bill rebates and its wireless unit Smart is crediting calamity load assistance to severely affected customers in Visayas and Mindanao.
Impacted customers in Visayas and Mindanao will not be required to pay for any service fees incurred during the days they experienced connectivity disruptions during typhoon Odette. Furthermore, there will be no disconnection of service due to non-payment until January next year, and the rebate that we will credit will be reflected in customers’ January/February 2022 billing.
The move is part of PLDT group’s efforts to make it easier for severely affected customers to get back on their feet following the onslaught of Odette. PLDT customers eligible to receive bill rebates will be notified via SMS. Smart is currently giving calamity load assistance to those most severely impacted in Visayas and Mindanao.
Communities get help
PLDT and Smart have likewise deployed much needed aid in the form of gensets, SIMs and prepaid load, and food packs to affected communities, including Maasin City in Southern Leyte, Cauayan, Ilog, Kabankalan and Sipalay in Negros Occidental, and Brgy. Ampayon in Butuan City.
Together with the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF), PLDT-Smart Foundation (PSF), local government units and PLDT’s and Smart’s provincial distributors, the group distributed close to 2,000 relief packages to beneficiary communities.
The ongoing communication and relief aid of PLDT, Smart, PSF and their partners, underscore the commitment of the group, led by its Chairman MVP “to take every available measure to help.” The companies are also working with other MVP-led organizations to mobilize resources to reach more people in need following typhoon Odette.
Article published in PR News Wire Asia