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8888, 911 flooded with dropped and prank calls

Emergency hotlines 8888 for citizens’ complaints and 911 for emergency cases received 2,475 calls in the first seven hours of its launching yesterday with the initial call made at 12:01 a.m.

With 45 call center agents receiving the calls, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said only 75 calls were legitimate calls, 1,119 were dropped calls and 304 were prank calls.

President Duterte initiated the launching of the emergency hotlines in the whole country with the hope of emulating its success in Davao City where he served as mayor for more than 20 years.

DILG Secretary Ismael Sueno reiterated his appeal to the public to refrain from using the emergency telephone numbers for other purposes as inappropriate calls may hinder the delivery of the required services during urgent cases.

At present callers are charged R5.50 per emergency call but the president hopes to free the public from any expenses when making these calls. Citizens may expect response in 5-10 minutes after making the call, depending on the situation and traffic.

The PNP said the emergency hotline system is still experiencing birth pains on the first day but the police will assure that optimum efforts are extended to the urgent needs that badly need their assistance.

The DILG wants the local government units (LGU) to assist in the set-up of necessary facilities.

Emergency number 8888 which is the president’s hotline has been institutionalized as an All-Citizen Complaint Center and is dedicated to complaints against fixers, scalawag officials and inept government services.

Police officers will serve as the initial batch of respondents to 911 calls while plans are still being ironed out to make the hotline connected with the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) to make it more responsive to disaster and calamity related situations. (Chito A. Chavez)