MANILA, Philippines—Smart Communications Inc. has set up free calling stations for those seeking refuge in Mindanao from the conflict in Sabah. The Libreng Tawag centers are in Pilot Elementary School in Barangay (village) Kasanyagan, Tubig Tanah, and in DepEd Trade School in Barangay Pag-asa, Bongao, Tawi-Tawi. Free calls are also being offered at the pier in Jolo’s Port Area in Sulu.
The service will be provided for as long as it’s needed, according to Ramon Isberto, Smart public affairs group head.
In partnership with sister-firm TV5, Smart has also set up a free-call facility at the Multipurpose Hall in Barangay Bidin, Sibutu, Tawi-Tawi. It is supporting a similar activity organized by the Philippine Red Cross in Barangay Tubigboh in Bongao, and in the PRC headquarters in Jolo.
Smart also provided communications support to the Department of Social Welfare and Development for its coordination efforts. The DSWD set up a mobile Humanitarian/Welfare Desk in Sabah to complement the rapid response teams that were deployed to respond to the needs of Filipinos there.