DILG call center agents found to be COVID-19 positive; calls re-routed

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday said calls to emergency dispatch system 911 are temporarily unavailable as its called center agents were tested positive for the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) last week.

DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya (PCOO / MANILA BULLETIN)

In a press briefing, DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya appealed for public understanding with the calls being rerouted to the local call centers specifically mentioning a call center in Parañaque City which handles such calls in Metro Manila.

“There aren’t many call center agents sa local call centers (in the local call centers) so sorry po if hindi kayo masagot ng 911 (if we cannot answer your calls in 911),’’ Malaya said.

However, Malaya said that emergency calls in the meantime may be coursed through the police and fire stations and the local emergency teams in “Quezon City, Makati City and other cities in Metro Manila’’.

“But rest assured po babalik na yung operation ng 911 That the operation of 911 will resume),’’ he added.

Malaya said the call center agents received around 18 million calls in the 911 emergency dispatch system last year.

Citing its importance, Malaya noted this is the first time that the country has a “national call number’’ which the public can rely on for their emergency needs.

Despite the huge number of prank and non-emergency calls, Malaya cited the “emergency telecommunicators’’ for their continued service.

“We are asking the public na wag na kayong mag prank calls sa 911 because (don’t make prank calls in 911) because sa prank call (in prank call) is time lost for or call center agents to respond to a legitimate call yan po sa isang panawagan sa DILG sa ating mga kababayan (that is the appeal of the DILG to the public),’’ Malaya concluded.