June 17, 2024

Residents of La Trinidad, Benguet can turn to their mobile phones and simply tap “Esaganak” application to get the latest information municipality’s disaster risk reduction programs with the launch of its mobile app on Google.  
Called “La Trinidad Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Esaganak” or simply Esaganak, the app was made available for downloads at Google Play on Jan. 31.
Esaganak (isaganak) is Iloko for “I’m going to prepare”
Ryunosuke Ichikawa, a Japan International Cooperation Agency volunteer, created the app for La Trinidad.
Ichikawa, who is a volunteer in the town since November 2018, began developing the app in September last year and completed the visual information contained in the app in January.
He was tasked to help the town in its disaster risk reduction programs by managing the dissemination of information through social media and other digital tools.
The user-friendly app contains disaster prevention map, link to the La Trinidad Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (MDRRMO) website, go bag checklist, and hotline numbers.
Once the disaster prevention map icon is tapped, the user will see the map of evacuation sites in the municipality. The user can search the nearest evacuation shelter using GPS and they could follow the directions to the sites from their current location.
“Our aim is that each household should be GPS-tagged,” Ichikawa said.
In the go bag checklist, or the bag containing emergency supplies, users are presented with the checklist on what to pack inside the bag in cases of emergency. It comes with a percentage bar to track the completion of the checklist. 
The list of hotline numbers of the MDRRMO and its affiliate organizations are in one icon.
“The user can check the numbers offline, which may be helpful if the user is out of data but in a communication service area,” the MDRRMO stated.
Mobile users could also download important documents found in the app, such as hazard maps and family preparedness guide, which could be printed and kept at home.  
Another feature, the safety confirmation, allows the users to send the location where they were evacuated, their safety status, and messages to the MDRRMO.
Mobile users are encouraged to pre-register their personal information in the app.
Ichikawa said the information would be handled following MDRRMO’s privacy policy.
He said the app is available to Android users only at the moment and could be downloaded for free. However, some of the mobile app’s functions require data or Internet connection before they could be downloaded. 
Ichikawa said the mobile app could still be developed for other functions that could be made available for use, offline. 
Local DRRMO Yoshio Labi said the app is useful especially in reaching out to the younger generation to enhance their awareness on disaster preparedness
Aside from Ichikawa, U.S. Peace Corps volunteer Patricia Fontanet Rodriguez also helped out in assessing athe municipality’s flood control programs.
Both volunteers are part of the municipality’s volunteer program, which invites foreign and local volunteers who want to assist the town in its DRRM programs.
La Trinidad was recognized twice by the national government through the Gawad Kalasag, for its effective preparation and partnership with the community in disaster preparedness. – Ofelia C. Empian