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For most of the Philippines, the emergency hotline is 117. There are some exceptions, like Davao, which does use 911, but mostly, it’s 117. They are apparently working on switching to 911 for the whole country.
I think this would be a very good change, especially if they also change some other things with how the system works now. I think that since 911 is pretty much universally recognized and easy to remember. A simple change like this could save lives. Just imagine if a foreigner or even a local who didn’t know that 117 was the emergency number here. In Davao, as far as I’ve heard, the 911 service is very good, a lot of people say it’s quick, efficient and free. Maybe Davao could set the precedent for the rest of the nation.
From what I’ve read, the current 117 system isn’t that good. First off, there’s only 1 center that receives calls and redirects them where needed, which is very inefficient. This could also potentially cause a lot of misunderstandings because of all the dialects and such, when I went to Manila, pretty much everyone couldn’t understand Bisaya, so I really do see this as being an issue. Next, some people say you can only use it if you have load, which you might not always have. Here in Davao all cellphone providers are required to give free 911 call service. People also say that some cities have numbers for their emergency services in conjunction with the 117 number, and these numbers can sometimes be long and hard to memorize.
In addition to the 911 number, there’s also an app that’s gonna be launched to help connect with emergency services (man there’s an app for everything). It seems very interesting and could speed up the process of getting help wherever needed. One thing I hope is that they don’t put ads in it like a lot of apps now. It would suck to be trying to get emergency services and suddenly you press an ad.
I’m hoping that they’ll fix a few of the issues pointed out above. Having more operator centers around the country would help with misunderstandings because of dialects, and having the app might also help depending on how it works. Cities wouldn’t need their own emergency hotlines, but if they did, you should still be able to use 911.
I’m certain prank callers will be an issue since, and I’m not sure how they would go about addressing it. Maybe having a 3 strike system for the numbers, where if a certain number prank calls 3 times, then they’re blacklisted. Given how cheap new numbers are though, it would be easy to bypass. I don’t really get people who prank call 911, it’s stupid and selfish. The whole system is based around getting help to people who need it as fast as possible, people could die because of a few minutes of delay, but some people think it’s cool to prank call 911. Also, people have to be educated on the do’s and don’ts of the app and the system in general. It would make it easier and more efficient that way.
I’m curious about the app and wanna see how good it is and where it goes. As for the change to 911, I think it’s a major improvement even though it seems like a small change. Like I said above, it could save lives.