PNP chief warns nuisance callers after prank calls inundate new 911 hotline
THE Philippine National Police yesterday officially launched the Duterte government’s emergency hotline 911 and warned pranksters they will be unmasked and arrested immediately since their foolishness could spell life and death.
PNP chief Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ M. de la Rosa, joined by Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar announced the activation of 911 during a press briefing at Camp Crame.
“Exactly one month since my assumption as chief PNP, we now have 911 as the nationwide emergency response number,” said the member of Philippine Military Academy ‘Sinagtala’ of Class 1986 who is leading the police’s massive crackdown against drugs, criminality and corruption.
“I am warning the prank callers and the would-be callers to refrain from doing prank calls. The 911 system is currently tracking the prank callers and we will make sure that you will be unmasked and arrested,” de la Rosa said.
The PNP chief said that as of 12:01 a.m. yesterday, the PNP monitoring center manned by 45 personnel has already recorded 2,475 calls but only 75 of them were legitimate.
De la Rosa said that the center recorded 1,119 dropped calls and a total of 304 prank calls.
He said that various calls for emergencies were responded to by joint PNP, Bureau of Fire Protection and Department of Health responders.
They include calls for ambulance assistance, amok, vehicular accidents, street troubles, drag racing, drinking in public places, harassments, illegal drug pushing and riots.
The top cop said that all 18 Police Regional Offices, 85 Police Provincial Offices, 20 City Police Offices, 117 City Police Stations, 1,494 Municipal Police Stations and the five National Capital Region Police Office districts have been alerted to respond to 911 calls since last Friday.
Interior and Local Government Secretary Ismael Sueno also called on the public not to fool around with 911.
“Nakikiusap po kami sa publiko na huwag tumawag sa 911 para lang subukan ito o manloko dahil makakasagabal ang mga taong totoong tumatawag sa hotline at nangangailangan ng tulong,” the DILG chief said.
“’Yung mga tao, pwedeng ‘wag ‘yung kalokohan para ‘yung mga responders natin sa police and fire can immediately respond and take action,” he added while emphasizing that one life can be saved for every prank call not made.
Sueno said he is set to talk with President Duterte to make the same appeal.
The DILG said that the 911’s predecessor, emergency hotline Patrol 117, received an average of 57 hang and prank calls per hour in 2015 alone. The DILG already expects a total of 2,730 hang and prank calls out of the anticipated 3,003 calls per hour for 911.
The use of 911 as the new Nationwide Emergency Hotline Number was made possible through a Memorandum of Agreement signed between the DILG Secretary and telecommunications companies which allowed the change of the designated national emergency number.
The DILG chief said that while President Duterte has directed to make 911 free of charge, all calls to 911 will initially be shouldered by callers until a new memorandum of agreement has been signed by the agencies concerned and a new executive order has been issued by Duterte.
The DILG quoted retired General Eliseo Rio Jr. of the Department of Information and Communications Technology and consultant to Patrol 117 as saying that after August 1, the current 15 seats for the emergency hotline will increase to 30, and the existing 43 call center agents will increase to 90.