Globe disaster preparedness program successful; Vital lines in North Luzon up immediately after Typhoon Juan



A week before typhoon Juan hit Northern Luzon, various stakeholders in Globe already huddled together for contingency planning to ensure that vital communications services will remain operational even when disaster strikes.

The Globe disaster management team provided 24-hour updates on the typhoon’s movement and strength to minimize its damage to company assets and personnel and to quickly restore services in affected provinces.

Learning from past typhoons such as Ondoy and Pepeng, Globe was determined to mitigate the terrible impact of disasters on their facilities.  Months earlier, disaster management team came up with an enhanced corporate disaster preparedness plan that entails deploying the latest technology, providing better preventive and restoration processes, and increasing the skills of its people through typhoon-readiness workshops.  This is in response to the Globe policy of protecting lives and guaranteeing the safety of employees while still ensuring service continuity in times of calamities.

Globe also monitored critical resources and conducted periodic maintenance and review of its power protection equipment and facilities to avert cellsite failures.  Already, it has procured 6-wheeler trucks, rubber boats and other heavy-duty, amphibious transport for accessing flooded or avalanched areas plus Disaster Survival Kits containing food, water, medicine and toiletries for the restoration teams.

Butch Kalalang, Globe Regional Operations head for North Luzon, manned the command center of the Regional Crisis Management Team and dispatched Disaster Response Teams to Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Baguio, Pangasinan, Aparri, Tuguegarao, Isabela, Quirino, and Ifugao a few days before typhoon Juan made landfall.

Field personnel from other regions were also deployed to Northern Luzon, even during the height of the typhoon on October 18.  Thus, Globe was able to limit any adverse effect on its network in Regions I and 2.  The teams were responsible for the immediate restoration of damaged microwave antennas and collapsed cell site towers. Globe also activated its Disaster Control and Recovery Center in Metro Manila to monitor the happenings up north.

Within 36 hours after the typhoon hit the country, Globe had its network up and running at 92 percent with full capacity in Northern Luzon.  The rest of the facilities in the said area were operating at half capacity pending restoration of commercial power. Nevertheless, Globe anticipated the problem and was able to deploy generator sets in Cagayan and Isabela and delivered fuel for the existing generators even before disaster struck.  Network operations were back to 100 percent when electricity returned after six days.

The quick network restoration allowed Globe to provide the best communications services even at the height of the typhoon.  This not only enabled Globe subscribers to communicate with their families and friends but also helped in relief operations.  

To date, Globe continues to audit and improve the way it manages its power system, and regularly tests the generation sets in the most mission-critical sites.  It has also installed submersible pumps in flood-prone areas.

Ultimately, while many natural catastrophes cannot be prevented, Globe is ready to provide vital communications services to its subscribers even in the face of disasters.