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Globe, Smart say restoration of services underway in Visayas

Globe Telecom and Smart Communications, Inc. have announced that restoration of their communication services is now underway in areas severely affected by Typhoon Yolanda.

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Globe Telecom and Smart Communications, Inc. have announced that restoration of their communication services is now underway in areas severely affected by Typhoon Yolanda.

In its latest advisory, Globe announced that communication services are now up in two key areas namely Iloilo and Roxas City following service disruption on Friday as the super typhoon wrought havoc in the area.

Service restoration in areas hard hit by the weather anomaly is expected within a 48-hour period, Yoly Crisanto, Globe Head of Corporate Communications, said.

According to Globe’s Crisanto, back-up power facilities have been fully utilized in the company’s major regional exchange centers.

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“We have activated our Disaster Coordination Center in Lahug and our Regional Operations Center to expedite restoration efforts in the Visayas region. Globe technical teams in the region continue to do coordination, monitoring and site assessments in the affected areas,” Crisanto  said.

As of 12nn Saturday, damage assessment revealed that about 53% of the Globe network in the Visayas region have been adversely affected by Typhoon Yolanda.

Service areas affected include those in Aklan, Antique, Biliran, Bohol, Capiz, Eastern Samar, Guimaras, Leyte, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Northern Samar, Siquijor, Southern Leyte and Western Samar.

Crisanto said service disruption in the Visayas region was due mostly to multiple transmission link failures and prolonged commercial power outages following storm surges and strong winds brought by the super typhoon.

Still, voice, text and data services in large part of the following areas are now available: Antique – 45%, Bohol – 64%, Cebu – 60%, Guimaras-88%, Iloilo-64%, Negro Occidental-70%, Negros Oriental-87%, Northern Samar-8%, Southern Leyte-28%, Siquijor-100% and Western Samar-2%.

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For its part, Smart expects to fire up most of its affected facilities over the next two to three days.

“About 15% of our cellular coverage in the three regions of Central Philippines was affected by the super typhoon, most of these in Easter Samar and Leyte which bore the brunt of the storm’s fury,” said Rolando G. Pena, head of technology services for PLDT and Smart.

Less than one percent of the Smart network in Mindanao was affected, mostly in Surigao del Norte while less than 10% of our network in South Luzon was affected, mostly in Masbate, Romblon.

“That is why we were able to continue providing services in areas such as Southern Leyte, Kalibo and Boracay in Aklan province,” Pena said.

“The teams that we prepositioned in the affected provinces started restoration work immediately after the storm passed.  They put Ormoc City back on air last night and we are moving on to the surrounding municipalities from there,” he added.

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“In a number of areas, service is not available because of the lack of commercial electricity.  To address this, we are dispatching generation sets to augment local power.  We are also making available to local residents power in our cell sites to enable them to re-charge their mobile phones,” he added.

Pena added that full normalization of service will depend on the restoration of commercial power which was also affected by Yolanda.

Free Charging and Calling Stations
Globe has also authorized the use of all its manned cell sites in Bohol, Samar and Leyte as free charging stations since there is no electricity yet in the two provinces after Typhoon Yolanda wreaked havoc in the Visayas region.

The facilities are being powered by heavy-duty generator sets which can easily accommodate the charging of mobile phones.  The generator sets, incidentally, are part of the service restoration efforts currently being undertaken by Globe in the affected areas.

Without electricity, the residents are practically cut off from their friends and relatives since they could not use their cellular phones which are their main means of communication.

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Globe is also coordinating with its teams in the affected areas for the setting up of Libreng Tawag stations and the provision of relief operations.

Meanwhile, as of this morning, Smart and Sun Cellular have set up Libreng Tawag stations at the following sites: Brgy. 7 and San Jose Municipal Office in San Jose, Mindoro; Rizal Elementary School evacuation center in Iloilo City; San Francisco, Camotes Islands, Tubigon Community Hospital in Potohan, Tubigon, Bohol, and East Central Elementary School in Tubigon, Leyte. In Roxas City, the public may also proceed to the local Smart cellsite for free charging of batteries of mobile phones as power is still out.  More Libreng Tawag and Libreng Charging stations are being set up.

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