” ‘Dong! Nasusunog ang bahay niyo!!” Sigaw ni Mang Berto, isang tricycle driver na palaging kainuman ni Dodong. Dali-daling napabalikwas si Dodong upang dukutin ang kanyang celpon sa bulsa.
“Bumbero! Tumawag kayo ng bumbero!” Napupuno ng mga naghihiyawan mga bata, matanda, babae at lalaki ang Barangay Bagong Dating. Lahat sila ay parang nagpapaunahan pang makalayo mula sa lumalaking sunog at usok na nagmumula sa direksiyon ng bahay ni Dodong. Kaniya-kaniya din silang bitbit ng mga mahahalagang gamit at damit na maari pang iligtas mula sa tuluyang lumalaking sunog.
Pinindot na ni Dodong ang mga numerong 9-1-1 sa kanyang celpon at inangat ito malapit sa kaniyang tenga. Halos mamuti na ang mga labi ni Dodong sa kaba, at habang iniintay na mag-ring ang kanyang celpon, hindi na siya mapakali na marinig ang boses may sasagot sa kabilang linya.
“…Sorry hindi sapat ang iyong load balance para magpatuloy sa tawag na ito. Para patuloy na makatawag, siguraduhing laging may sapat na load…”
Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re thinking: this is a mere exaggerated story. In a baranggay of at least 100 people, there has to be one who has sufficient load credits to call for help, without a doubt. So, in a crisis scenario where you happen to be the only person in the area, with no other person within miles to call for help on your behalf, well, you’re doomed.
Like, for instance, you went out hiking on your own, and somehow slipped on some rock and injured your ankle? Through that phone away if you have no prepaid load, because even if there’s mobile network reception in the area where you find yourself stuck, all alone in oblivion, with very little chance of locals finding you, you can’t call for help.
So, what’s the point of having a nationwide emergency hotline?
My question is this, how come telcos did not consider letting all calls through, and merely crediting payment AFTER the call is made, and AS SOON AS THE SUBSCRIBER tops up the account? If the reason behind the Php 5 fee is to discourage prank callers, then, the same purpose is still met if calls connect and the fee is deducted once load credits are transferred into the prepaid sim, correct? Also, there has to be a way to log frequent prank callers into the system, and, say, block any more incoming calls from repeat offenders? I know the US 911 hotline has a standard operating procedure for verifying prank calls and blocking repeated instances from connecting into the line, right?
And one other matter… What the fudge, Globe Telecom?! Can you prove with call logs from your patrons that a considerable number of them dialed 911 for no reason to warrant the implementation of a penalty? That’s exactly what I think this Php5 charge is for, penalty. It’s to penalize prank callers, the article said. Does that mean, Globe Telecom sees millions of its subscribers as potential prank callers whom they cannot trust to consider the value and sacredness of the 911 emergency number? Let me say that again– what the fudge, GLOBE?!?
This is why I’m frustrated over this development on the 911 Nationwide emergency hotline: there could’ve been ways to go around the collection of fees without barring even legitimate emergency calls from connecting to the hotline, why was it not done? I’m sure telcos are smart (or globe :3), otherwise, they would not have survived this long, nor have they earned and expanded this much since day one of operations.
Perhaps, this is just one of the many half-assed efforts of people in public service. I can’t help but wonder why this is the running standard in public service, and the motto is “okay na ‘yan”. NEWS FLASH— IT IS NOT OKAY, OKAY?
In fairness to the government, the promise to establish a nationwide emergency hotline was fulfilled by the current administration in mere weeks since its official commencement. Even so, for government programs such as this one, the system is expected to work, and not simply appear to work just to satisfy the responsibility of keeping one’s word. In as early as in its conceptualization stage, this matter should have come to mind at the onset, and strategies on how to keep the service free, how to ensure that no prank calls will be logged, and how to reprimand first-time and penalize habitual prank callers should have been established in its manual of operations.
This concludes my very first “WHAT THE FUDGE (WTF)?!?” blog post. I’m hoping to write more of this in the days to come. Stay tuned!