Senator Win Gatchalian said he wants local government units to be actively involved in the implementation of the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) 911 emergency service.
“This is a dream for all local government units in the country as well as for our constituents to have a singular emergency number that’s easy to remember and to dial that will enable direct access to police, medics, firemen, and other local government services,” said Gatchalian, during a Senate hearing on the proposed 2024 budget of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and its attached agencies.
“Getting the call is one thing but responding to that call is most important. How fast can we respond from the time we get the call? That’s the most important and we can only respond promptly if the local governments are involved in the 911 activity,” he stressed.
Gatchalian specifically asked the DILG to provide a road map that would lead the country to having comprehensive 911 emergency services coverage. “Give us a roadmap. What is important here is not only getting and receiving the calls but how we can send the message from the sick man on the street to the ambulance in the hospital. The response time needs to be shortened to give the service that our constituents need at that point,” he emphasized.
Gatchalian added that the country should aspire to having 911 emergency services similar to that provided in the United States. “That’s an aspiration for all of us, especially in the realm of peace and order,” the senator said.
According to DILG Undersecretary Lord Villanueva, however, the 911 services have only been able to establish 22 local call centers which were set up and funded by various LGUs.
Villanueva disclosed that the country’s 911 emergency services receive an average of 60,000 calls daily. The DILG is unable to scale up its 911 emergency services due to budgetary constraints. For instance, the DILG has been allocated only a budget of P26 million for 911 emergency services last year. For this year, the agency was also allotted P26 million for the program, Villanueva added.