Rafael Olivar, Chief of DICT’s Disaster Risk Reduction Management Division (DRRMD)
DICT-Disaster Risk Reduction Management Division (DRRMD) Chief Rafael Olivar (middle) discusses the department’s Government Emergency Communications System (GECS) project during the Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT) Sympoisum on Disaster Management.

26 September 2019 – The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is partnering with the World Food Programme (WFP) in the implementation of the Government Emergency Communications System (GECS).

GECS is DICT’s project aimed to provide emergency communications system in disaster-stricken areas to aid responders and authorities in making necessary and appropriate decisions and actions. The project also intends to strengthen disaster preparedness in communities across the country.

Speaking at the Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT) Symposium on Disaster Management held last September 24 to 26, Rafael Olivar, Chief of DICT’s Disaster Risk Reduction Management Division (DRRMD), said the WFP will not only act as responder when disaster arises in the Philippines. The WFP will also be involved in the capacity building component of GECS which focuses on disaster preparedness, particularly in the development of the emergency telecommunications training center and training manuals as well as in the conduct of trainers’ training and nationwide information caravan.

The WFP is the lead agency of the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC), a global network of humanitarian, government and private sector organizations working together to provide secure communications, reliable Internet connectivity, technical help desk services, among others, in humanitarian emergencies. The ETC also engages in disaster preparedness efforts, such as training exercises for its partners to be deployed in areas hit by disasters and coordination with local, national and regional stakeholders before disaster strikes.

“The government has limited human resources, funding and communication facilities that is why we tapped the WFP as they are the expert in emergency telecommunications,” Olivar said.

Olivar also urged the APT to come up with more initiatives which will enable international collaboration on disaster risk reduction and management. 

“We need more collaboration in terms of capacity building. Open up the international training centers so that we could share each other’s experiences and skills. With that linkage, we can work together more, we can respond to disasters more easily and in a uniform and strategic manner.”