PLDT and its mobile arm Smart are open to providing free access to the upcoming 911 and 8888 hotlines if the government mandates them to do so.
“If the government will instruct us to make it free, no problem,” Ramon Isberto, head of PLDT and Smart Public Affairs, told the Philippines News Agency in an interview.
Isberto shared that when the country had the 117 hotline, landline and mobile access were provided for free. Unfortunately, almost 97% of the calls to the hotline were prank calls.
Isberto mentioned that for now, 911 and 888 hotline calls will be charged based on regular rates, and depending on airtime usage through mobile phones.
“People think it’s about the money. So how do you deal with such problem?” Isberto lamented. “What if someone in need dials 911 and yet he/she can’t access the hotline because there are many prank callers on the line or trying to access it at the same time?” he added.
The upcoming 911 hotline will be replacing Patrol 117 as the country’s national emergency hotline number. A citizen’s complaints hotline will also be implemented using the 8888 hotline. Both will be operational starting August 1.
Source: Philippine News Agency