Bukidnon’s remote regions are now equipped with radio equipment.
According to Secretary Fortunato de la Pea, at least eight rural communities in Malaybalay, Bukidnon, are currently benefiting from the radio system infrastructure constructed with the assistance of the Department of Science and Technology in Region 10 (DOST-10).
De la Pea said in a recorded report that these distant settlements are inhabited by indigenous people. According to him, the DOST-10 was the catalyst for the installation of an encryption-enabled radio repeater system.
A 120-foot radio mast was constructed, and authorities from the barangays of St. Peter, Zamboanggita, Caburacanan, Busdi, Indalsa, Mapulo, Kulaman, and Silae were given eight VHF-UHF crossband handheld radios, he said.
“In such regions, digitized VHF amateur radio communication is critical. Upper Pulangi is a border of Agusan del Sur, a renowned region for telecom network communication blind spots “Ritchie Mae Guno, DOST Provincial Director, said the Philippine News Agency.
Guno highlighted that the telecom signal in Bukidnon is turned on and off for security reasons during severe weather disturbances such as “Sendong” and “Pablo,” as well as during major events.
She said that amateur radio communication will save many lives in situations when cell bandwidth is overburdened.
According to de la Pea, the project will benefit a communication network in four important areas of disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM): prevention and mitigation, disaster preparation, disaster response, and recovery and rehabilitation.
He said that this would enhance the early warning communication exchange between the LGU’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Unit and the Barangay DRRM team.
The radio antenna was erected in December, according to Guno, and the DOST has allotted PHP377,050 to this project as part of the Community Empowerment through Science and Technology (CEST) Project.
Malaybalay City’s LGU contributed PHP93,600 in matching funds.
Meanwhile, according to de la Pea, the DOST-10 has teamed up with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to offer orientation and training to partner communities on how to use and maintain the devices.
He also claimed that radio etiquette rules and emergency communication training were given.