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Smart, Albay province taps Cebu-based tech start-up for disaster and emergency mobile app

Wireless leader Smart Communications (Smart) is collaborating with the provincial government of Albay and a Cebu-based tech start-up to customize a disaster and emergency mobile application to be used by the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office (APSEMO) in its disaster management operations.

Called Tudlo (Visayan and Bicolano which means “to teach, to guide, to point”), the mobile app is a multi-purpose communications platform for disasters and emergencies. The partnership to develop the app was announced at the sidelines of the recent Workshop on Disaster Response held in Legazpi City by the GSMA Disaster Response Committee in cooperation with Smart.

Tudlo features relevant information on managing and dealing with emergencies and disasters; government bulletins and advisories; crowd-sourcing on on-ground situation; locator feature for evacuation sites; mapping for government agencies for easier coordination of aid and rescue efforts as well as emergency features that can be activated on the device. It can also generate situational analytics that can provide useful insights in future disasters and emergencies.

Tudlo will include new features based on the requirements of the province of Albay, which is known for its disaster risk reduction. The developers of Tudlo will use APSEMO's wealth of information on disaster preparedness as a resource for the application.

An award-winning application, Tudlo was recognized as Best Community App during the Visayas leg of the Smart Developer Network (Smart DevNet) hackathon for social good last year and emerged as one of the twenty finalists in the first-ever national competition for the best tech start-up idea of the IdeaSpace Foundation, Inc. (IdeaSpace) which Smart is supporting.

“Communication before, during and after disaster and emergency situations is very important. This is specially so for warning and evacuation. Without good tools for communications, the overall setup of our operations will fail. Communications save a lot of lives. We’re looking forward to using Tudlo to complement our disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation tools,” said Cedric D. Daep. Ph.D., Department Head, APSEMO.

“We’re basically connecting socially innovative mobile applications from the developer and start-up community to local governments, institutions and people who will benefit most in using these wireless technologies. It’s an excellent example of ‘apptivism’ or the use of mobile apps for social good.” said Ramon R. Isberto, Smart public affairs group head.

“We’ve been working on our app for the past year and Albay will be the first live case where we can study, test and further improve it. We hope that this will be used by more provinces in the country,” said Vince Loremia, co-founder of Tudlo, which is based in Cebu City.

The announcement was made in Legazpi City where the international workshop was held to help the various groups share global best practices in the mobile industry. The first of its series, the seminar's topic is "Preparing and Responding to Earthquakes: Best Practices for the Mobile Industry". Attending the event are mobile operators, device manufacturers, government agencies and groups involved in disaster preparedness and emergency response.

Albay has institutionalized disaster risk reduction practices that it has become a center for excellence for disaster preparedness. The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) have awarded the province the “Hall of Famer for Kalasag Award” in 2012.

The numerous awards given to Albay prove that the disaster risk reduction culture of preparedness has become pervasive in the province, enabling it to attain zero casualties in times of calamities.

Since 2011, Albay has been using the Smart InfoBoard, a Web-based service that allows fast and efficient dissemination to its community of information like advisories related to impending disasters.

The Philippines is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the region and to be able to respond to the series of calamities and disasters, it must have a holistic and integrated disaster risk reduction plan in place and a culture of preparedness among its people to help preserve life and safety of properties.

With learning from Albay and new tools like Tudlo readily available, the Philippines will be able to deal with disasters and calamities and eventually attain zero casualties during these situations.

Smart has been at the forefront of working with the developer, start-up, government and local communities for socially innovative mobile apps.

Among the most recent mobile apps launched with partners include the Project Noah for Mobile Android version, the eLeksyon2013 app for the Commission on Elections and the Earth Day Network Philippines app for environmental advocacy.

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