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Late text warnings amid heavy rain? Telcos explain why

Not a few Filipinos relied on rainfall warnings sent via text messages by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council as heavy rains swamped parts of Luzon over the weekend.

According to Dano Tingcungco's report on "State of the Nation with Jessica Soho", the SMS warnings, however, were delayed.

For instance, an orange rainfall warning sent at 6 p.m. was received by many subscribers at 8:53 p.m. or almost three hours after it was sent out.

Such warnings warn the public of the amount of rainfall in certain areas in the next three hours.

Telecommunications executives explained the delay.

"The disadvantages of SMS is that it takes several hours to send the alert depending on the number of messages being sent," PLDT-Smart Telecommunications public affairs head Mon Isberto said.

"Long term, we recommend using ECBS more and more, as people shift from legacy phones to smart phones. It is faster and more flexible," he added.

ECBS is the emergency cell broadcast system, which is faster because it uses a frequency different from that used in text and voice calls.

Older phone units, however, cannot receive messages from the ECBS.

"We are doing both cell broadcast technology and SMS alerts. The reason SMS alerts are still used is because there are devices still being used that do not accept cell broadcasts," Globe Telecom senior vice president Yolly Crisanto said. —NB, GMA News