For social media-savvy Filipinos, Twitter is the preferred place for disaster response in Philippines


Social media has now become an integral part of the Philippines’ efforts to raise the effectiveness of its disaster response and crisis preparedness strategies. Twitter has particularly emerged as a preferred channel for both government and its citizens to work together in securing Filipinos from the effects of climate change, conflict and other crises. As a global live communication platform, Twitter’s open and public features -and its advantage in breaking news- have been leveraged by the media, public and private sectors, to expedite exchange of critical information in times of catastrophes and emergencies.

The latest example of how Twitter is valuable in crisis situations would be the current conversations on #MayonVolcano, which has primarily focused on ensuring the safety of those within the danger zone. Authorities and media have been actively sharing advisories on Twitter to provide updates on alert levels, and guidelines that help citizens understand health and safety procedures.

The Philippine government has been promoting the use of unified hashtags to monitor, track, and consolidate information before, during, and after a natural disaster strikes. Specific hashtags have been consistently used in all instances of natural or man-made calamities for relief operations and aid missions, such as #ReliefPH. Citizens also use Twitter to find missing loved ones, and share stories and messages of survival and support. #RescuePH is used when victims need to be rescued, with users providing information on their exact location, name, and contact details; while #SafeNowPH is used to inform others that they had already been rescued or out of danger. Hashtags relating to weather and disasters are also used, like #earthquakePH, which shares information about earthquakes, aftershocks, and evacuations related to earthquakes. #BagyoPH (stormPH) is used to provide information on storms and typhoons, like signal strength and path direction. #FloodPH is also used as an alert system for heavily flooded areas. Currently, #WalangPasok is used year-round across the country to give timely notices to students and workers on suspension of classes or offices during floods and other disruptive events.

Filipinos have embraced Twitter as an effective means to communicate and collaborate during natural disasters. It has also become a tool for motivating Filipinos to take civic action by volunteering, donating or even simply sharing situation reports.

Given the country’s geographical location, the Philippines is highly likely to experience several strong typhoons, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes – a compelling reason to stay up-to-date on news and advisories to be disaster-ready.

When disasters strike, networks and data connection go down. It's important that people are able to stay connected and updated on what’s happening in the Philippines and around the world. This is where data-friendly platforms like Twitter Lite come into play. Twitter Lite is a faster, data-friendly, and more accessible way for Filipinos to keep abreast of breaking news, or post live Twitter updates of emergency situations on-the-ground. Once loaded, the information on Twitter Lite can be accessed in offline mode as well. Twitter Lite is available at mobile.twitter.com— on smartphone or tablet in 42 languages including Tagalog.

As Filipinos rise to their civic duty during times of crisis, Twitter will continue to be a valuable platform for a more synchronized multi-sectoral effort in disaster rescue, relief and recovery. It provides the most vulnerable segments of the population a voice, promotes transparency and drives accountability in the rescue and relief process.

About Twitter (NYSE: TWTR)

Twitter is what’s happening in the world and what people are talking about right now. From breaking news and entertainment to sports, politics, and everyday interests, see every side of the story. Join the open conversation. Watch live streaming events. Available in more than 40 languages around the world, the service can be accessed via twitter.com, Twitter Lite (mobile.twitter.com), an array of mobile devices, and SMS. For more information, please visit about.twitter.com, follow @Twitter and @TwitterPH, and download both the Twitter and Periscope apps at twitter.com/download and periscope.tv.

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