Four Cebu City barangays will serve as pilot areas for a mobile software application or app that will allow users to report emergencies and dispatch responders and emergency teams.
Councilor and Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) President Philip Zafra said their group and Cebuano software developer Sugbotek Inc. chose Barangays Apas, Tisa, Sto. Niño and Poblacion Pardo as the pilot areas for the project.
“This is a way to upgrade our capacity to respond to emergencies so that we don’t just depend on our city’s command control center especially on incidents that happen in the barangay,” Zafra said.
He said the four barangays were chosen based on their active and already established response teams.
Sugbotek President Cloyd Dedicatoria said they will make the application and the system available to an initial 100 volunteers and responders in each of the four pilot barangays.
“It is like a test bed. We want to get more statistics to make our infrastructure ready for later,” Dedicatoria said in yesterday’s press conference at the Apas Barangay Hall.
He said they hope to launch the service to all barangays in the city by January next year before the annual Sinulog celebration, which falls on the third Sunday of January.
Zafra said Sugbotek approached the ABC three months ago with their proposal to try out their dispatch and civilian response system named “Guardian” for free to the barangays.
He said the barangays need only use their existing hardware and response system to be integrated with that of theirs.
Zafra said the system is not meant to compete or overshadow Cebu City Hall’s Command Control Center.
Zafra said the app will just improve on the existing system by allowing cell phone or mobile device users to report incidents online.
Under the system, people can choose between three basic types of incidents: fire, medical emergency and crimes.
They also have an option to report other minor incidents like public disturbance.
The app will then automatically look for the nearest barangay- or city-based command center or response team based on the user’s location.
It will then contact the nearest command center or team and the user who reported the incident can talk and discuss the details of the complaint.
“Everything is also recorded. These data can be used in aid of legislation. We will have the statistics at the end of the month. You will see which areas there are high cases of crimes or fires. They can then make ordinances to augment disaster and incident preparedness,” Dedicatoria said.
He said though that once they roll out the system by January, it will only be available for Android phones since 89 percent of cell phone owners in Cebu are Android phone users.
Dedicatoria said they will soon make the app available in iOS.
Dedicatoria, a native of Barangay Apas, Cebu City, said they chose to pilot the system in the city first before going to other areas.
He said they also plan to put the system up in neighboring areas like Mandaue City.