Davao City 911 Center

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Update March 2009: Yesterday, a friend who lives in the Philippines had some health problems.  He texted me and asked if there is 911 in the Philippines.  I told him that it is only available in Davao, but now that I thought about it, there are a couple of other cities that have it too.  Here in Davao, though, we have a full compliment of paramedics and everything necessary for emergency response.  This is an important consideration when you are deciding where you might live in the Philippines.  Are emergency services available, and can they offer quick service when needed?  Because of this inquiry, I decided to feature this post again so that people could see what kind of services are available in Davao City.

Two weeks ago, I made a visit to the Davao City 911 Center with a group that I belong to called “Friends of Mindanao.”  The group visit to the 911 Center was arranged by my friend, Rick Bowden.  Rick is a neighbor or Mario Monsanto, who is the Chief Operating Officer of the Davao City 911 Center.  Mario reports directly to Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

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I can’t describe how impressed I was with the 911 Center, it is so modern, well staffed, and the personell are very efficient.  The training that they 911 people recieve is very thorough and up to date, and their professionalism was very clear to see.

At this time, Davao is one of only a handful of Cities in the Philippines that have 911 Emergency Services.  Currently other such centers are operated by Makati City (part of Metro Manila) and by Cebu City.  Iligan City is currently working with Davao to learn the ins and outs of setting up such a system there.

Have a look at the video of our visit to Davao City 911:

The 911 Center in Davao is in charge of dispatching all of the emergency services in Davao, everything from Police to Medical Services.  The people at 911 own and operate 10 Ambulances and they have paramedics to handle services while en-route to the hospital facility.  One thing that was quite impressive is that all services offered by 911 are free for the public.  911 can also be accessed through any land line telephone, and also through each of the cellular networks in Davao City.

I would like to thank Mario Monsanto for offering such a great tour of the facility, and also to Rick Bowden for arranging the visit!

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Bob Martin

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur. Bob is an American who lived in Mindanao from 2000 until 2019. Bob has now relocated back to the USA.

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Ron w

kamusta bob
im impressed that davao has 911 services.i didnt know philippines had such a impressive center like that.that is very good to know when visiting davao.especially saving people with a fast responce team.
thanks for sharing this article bob


Hi Ron w:

Thanks for your comment! Yes, I was also very impressed by the 911 center. I had seen the place there before and passed by, while driving, but I had no idea how modern and well-equipped it was. Getting the chance to tour the place was really a nice opportunity, and I enjoyed it, and left well-informed about the place.


Hi Bob, impressive isn’t it? Thanks to Mayor Duterte for that. One thing I am also very impressed with is our volunteer fire brigade set up by the Chinese community. They’ve always been there as far back as I could remember, very well organized, well trained and almost always first to arrive.I guess it was borne out of necessity – if you’ve seen Chinatown you will know why 😀 Come to think of it, their phone number is still posted in front of the telephone at my parents’ house.
Cheers, Ellen


Hi Ellen:

Yes, it is very impressive. And you’re right, the mayor gets all the thanks for that.

The Chinese fire brigade is impressive as well. Maybe I can write a story on them some time to.

Thanks for your comment!

Tom N

When I lived in Seoul, Korea in 1994-1995, I was completely unimpressed with emergency services. When I have more training than the person who arrives with the ambulance, we are all in trouble.

It sounds like Davao is miles ahead of that!


Hi Tom N: I really have to say Tom, that I was so impressed with the services there. The personnel seem to be very well-trained to. From what you describe in South Korea, it would seem that Davao is miles ahead, as you say.

Dave Starr

Thanks for this first-hand report, Bob. You may recall I wrote this up sme months back based on a feature the Philippine Star did on the Davao City 911 service. Of all the plus factors of the Philippines a huge negative factor certainly is that except for Davao and the precious few exceptions you mentioned there essentially is no emergency service. Even the extremely simlistic safety idea of having a 911 number to take calls (easily doable with existing cell and landline phone systems) is virtually non-existent. It’s a bit sad … a fully staffed/fully equipped center is quite an… Read more »


Hi Dave Starr: Yep, I agree. Something like a 911 service should be a bare necessity for even a medium sized town. And, like you said, it is not something that is too hard to do either. I will say that to get to the point where they are today, the Davao 911 Center has put in major money and major effort, because it’s become much more than a place where phone calls are answered now. But, everybody should make a start, at a bare minimum.

John in Austria
John in Austria

Hello Bob, I have a question. One of your videos showed wall-to-wall traffic on the streets of Davao. How do the Emergency Services cope with this, and how does the traffic cope with the Emergency Services? i.e. do they move over and let Emergency Services vehicles through, or can they even move over? Have you queried the Emergency Services people on this? I’m thinking it would be a big problem for them all.


Hi John in Austria: It has gotten pretty good in the past few years that traffic moves over and make way for emergency vehicles. Years ago this didn’t happen, but now it is the norm. I did talk to Mario Monsanto a little about this during our visit to the 911 center, and he said that generally it is not a big problem, because people who block the emergency vehicles are dealt with harshly. Also, he told me that anybody who follows the 911 vehicles in order to take advantage of their quick move through traffic is also dealt with… Read more »


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