When the COVID-19 pandemic reached Lanao del Sur, the provincial government strengthened its information drive using Smart Infocast, a text-broadcast solution powered by PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications Inc. (Smart).
With Infocast, the provincial government can send the latest advisories on health protocols and efforts of the government against COVID-19 to Maranao people.
Launched a few years ago, Smart Infocast is a web-based service text message broadcast solution that can send out several short message service (SMS) alerts to a specific group of people as defined by designated users. The platform also allows registered subscribers to send feedback directly to the local government unit (LGU).
LGUs responding to the COVID-19 emergency are now also able to send out news broadcasts, official announcements, and other critical information about COVID-19 to their residents through the service, enhancing the LGU’s information dissemination capabilities.
“Information is vital especially during a crisis. If you can inform 1,000 people, you can save around 5,000 more. This will cause a ripple effect until the information reaches everyone,” said Jennie Tamano, head of the Provincial Information Office. “Not all people have access to internet connection and radio to stay updated. Infocast, allows us to reach a wider audience. It is convenient since we can disseminate information in an instant.”
The partnership of Smart with the LGU was facilitated by the USAID and Plan International’s Marawi Response Project (MRP) that supports the government endeavors in their fight against COVID-19.
The solution has boosted the communication efforts of institutions where it has been implemented, among them local government units, government agencies, and other organizations. In Mindanao, Smart Infocast has been used as part of the COVID-19 information campaigns of Maguindanao, Cagayan de Oro City, Surigao del Norte, Pagadian City, among others.