Tuesday last week and yesterday, I had opportunities to test the 911 system touted by supporters of this administration as a concrete success.

On Tuesday, I was not able to connect at all, but it was probably because of my service provider’s connectivity and not because of the 911 system.

Yesterday, I realized that Sun Cellular still does not recognize 911, and you would be asked to dial 117. So I dialed 117 and was connected to the 911 system. The conversation went like this:

“Hi, this is Vincent Isles. There has been a vehicular accident at the First Mactan Mandaue Bridge, in Lapulapu City.”
“Sir, can we have a more specific address than that?”

Huh? There’s a more specific address than “First Mactan Mandaue Bridge, Lapulapu City”? How would that be, “3rd post from the center post, First Mactan Mandaue Bridge, Lapulapu City?”

All the while, I felt gravely threatened by the presence of the offending driver, whose jeepney I blocked with my motorcycle after I was able to overtake him a few minutes after he hit another motorcyclist who was then still on the bridge. He had already refunded his passengers and he had disembarked from his jeepney.

Luckily, there was another motorcyclist who I was able to request to ask help from the joint AFP/PNP detachment a few meters away (although it would take a roundabout way to reach them from where we were). While I was trying to explain to the 911 operator that there is really no more specific address than “First Mactan Mandaue Bridge, Lapulapu City”, two policemen in full battle gear came riding their own motorcycles, and effected the arrest of the driver.

I had no chance to use the old 117 system before, so I really have no way of comparing the current 911 system with that. But it is already good that we have this system in place. Now, if they would just hire local operators, people who know the places from where the callers are calling. I really think the operator last night had not even crossed once the First Mactan Mandaue Bridge.

This was originally posted on Facebook on 10 October 2016.

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