MANILA—As Typhoon Ompong (international name: Mangkhut) slammed into the country, some netizens wondered why some of them did not receive mobile alerts from the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC).
The alerts are part of the agency's early-warning system advising cellphone users whenever there is an upcoming storm or expected heavy rainfall within their area.
For Ompong, NDRRMC spokesperson Edgar Posadas said the mobile alerts are designed to be area-specific only.
"Hindi ka po makakatanggap ng alert kung wala ka po sa areas na concerned ng alert," he told ABS-CBN News.
(You will not receive an alert if you are not in the area covered by the alert.)
For instance, when the typhoon was about to make landfall in the town of Baggao in Cagayan, Posadas said the agency immediately sent out an alert to those in the area.
A succeeding message was later sent out to the rest of mobile users to inform them of the typhoon landfall.
At present, NDRRMC mobile alerts are limited to warnings on heavy rainfall, earthquakes, tsunamis, and in the case of Ompong tropical cyclone warning signals and storm surges.
Asked for comment on criticism that the mobile alerts are sometimes late, Posadas said the NDRRMC recognizes there are still challenges within the system.
"There is always room for improvement and we always welcome feedback. We are trying to improve it and this is just one way of keeping the public informed," he said.
Ompong, the strongest typhoon to hit the country this year, lashed at northern Luzon, leaving thousands of families at makeshift shelters.