by Raymond Carl Dela Cruz
MANILA – Residents of Batangas province who left their homes to seek shelter in evacuation centers after the eruption of Taal Volcano may now enjoy free calls and WiFi.
In a statement Friday, the PLDT said it partnered with both the national and local government in providing connectivity to those displaced by the eruption.
“Connectivity efforts are conducted by the PLDT Batangas Consumer Experience Zone and Provincial Department of Social Welfare and Development. In coordination with Batangas City Governor Dodo Mandanas, PLDT also set-up an additional booth for free WiFi internet services at the command center adjacent to Batangas Sports Complex,” the statement read.
As of Thursday, free calls, charging, and free WiFi are available at the Batangas Sports Complex in Batangas City and Sto. Tomas North Central School in Sto. Tomas, Batangas.
For free calls and WiFi, both services are available at St. Vincent Ferrer, Banaybanay in Lipa City.
Free calls are available at the Bauan Technical High School in Poblacion, Bauan Central School, Manghinao 1 Covered Court, and at San Pascual-Poblacion 1 Brgy. Hall, Bayanan Brgy. Hall, Sambat, Brgy. Hall, and Alalum Elementary School.
For free charging, those in need may go to the PLDT Tagaytay Office and at the Pansin Elementary School in Alfonso, Cavite.
Affected Batangas residents may also access free Smart WiFi services in parks, hospitals, government offices, transportation hubs, and other key high foot-traffic areas in the province.
These include but are not limited to the Port of Batangas, the Capitol of Batangas, Municipal Hall of Santo Tomas, City Hall of Tanauan, Tanauan City Plaza, Lipa Medix, St. Frances Cabrini Medical Center in Sto. Tomas, San Antonio Medical Center in Lipa, and the Lyceum of the Philippines University in Batangas City.
In a separate statement, Smart said while its mobile network was operating normally in most affected areas, it is working to restore service in cell sites affected by the loss of power.
“Technical teams have been dispatched to install generators in the affected cell sites,” the statement read.
Aside from the provision of these free services, the company also provided free mobile credits for site coordinators to aid in their relief efforts.
On Friday, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said a “steady steam emission and infrequent weak explosions” were observed in the main crater of Taal Volcano for the past 24 hours, with a hazardous eruption still imminent.
The Phivolcs said a new steaming fissure has appeared on the northern slopes of Taal Volcano island, while the shoreline around Taal Lake has been observed to be receding. (PNA)