Gov't secures Globe, Smart commitment for more landlines in hospital command center

The government has secured the commitment of the country's two major telecommunications companies to provide additional telephone landlines for the hospital command center during the coronavirus pandemic.


Industrialists Fernando Zobel de Ayala of Globe Telecom and Manny Pangilinan of PLDT/Smart have agreed to help the government following request made by Malacañang to augment telco support for the center that coordinates hospital care for coronavirus patients.

Presidential spokesman Roque contacted the two business tycoons in the middle of a televised press briefing Monday to ask for their assistance.

"May nakakarating na komento na medyo mahirap daw tawagan ang ating call centers so kung kinakailangan natin tatawagin natin si Mr. MVP ng PLDT at Mr. Zobel ng Globe para mas mabigyan kayo ng mas maraming linya (There are comments that it is difficult to contact our call centers so if needed, we will call Mr. MVP of PLDT and Mr. Zobel of Globe to give us more lines)," Roque said during the press conference.

Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega has agreed that hospital command center needed additional telephone lines to accommodate more people in need of medical assistance.

Vega, in the online press briefing, said the hospital command center, manned by two offsite call centers, is mostly using mobile phones for the meantime. "Kung may fixed lines tayo mas maganda (If we have fixed illness, it will be better)," said Vega, called the government's treatment czar in the coronavirus emergency.

In his phone conversation with Zobel, Roque requested for additional landlines from Globe to improve the connectivity of the hospital command center.

The business magnate asked Roque about the number of lines needed and then promised to "do our best to assist you." He committed that Globe will contact Roque right away.

"We’re always assisting Secretary. It really depends on the requirements, but we’ll do our best to do assist you," said Zobel, co vice-chairman of Globe Telecom.

A brief phone call with Pangilinan elicited the same positive response.

When Roque asked for telco support for the hospital command center, Pangilinan said: "Yes sir, we will do that. We will do that right away and then who do we talk the need to know how many voice lines and data lines you need.:

Roque told Pangilinan that he would forward Vega's contact number to coordinate the telco request.

He also seized the chance to thank Pangilinan for P45-million equipment donated to East Avenue Medical Center. "More to come, Mr. Secretary," Pangilinan told Roque.

Roque later thanked the two businessmen for their commitment to help the hospital command center.

The hospital command center was inaugurated by the government on Aug. 6 to facilitate coordinated health facility referral for coronavirus patients in Metro Manila.

Vega said the command center has so far received 1,813 calls from people. Of this number, 1,131 have resolved.

Apart from more telephone lines, Vega admitted the facility needed real-time data on the dashboard to improve hospital coordination. He committed to further improve the process so the government can provide better service to the public.