117 (emergency telephone number)
117 (pronounced one-one-seven) is the national emergency telephone number for the Philippines. It is managed by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and is also referred to by its official name, Emergency Network Philippines (ENP). Colloquially, it is also called Patrol 117, the name used by the Philippine National Police, where the number originated. It is the only emergency telephone number in the world that is accessible through both voice telephony and text messaging.
Since its inception in 2003, 117 call centers nationwide have handled some 15 million calls. However, the majority of 117 calls are prank calls, leading the DILG to urge local government units to issue ordinances penalizing those who make hoax 117 calls.
Prior to the inception of 117, emergency services were reached through a myriad of telephone numbers. The fire department in Manila, for example, had fifty telephone numbers, one for every fire station in the city. At the time, 117 was solely used in the Metro Manila area by the Philippine National Police for the reporting of ongoing crimes as part of a program called the "Patrol 117 Street Patrol Program" in cooperation with the Foundation for Crime Prevention. Efforts to expand the capabilities of 117 began in the 1990s, starting with the addition of emergency medical services to the scope of 117 in Metro Manila through a private-sector initiative called Project EARnet (Emergency Assistance and Response network).
Government involvement in the expansion of 117's scope began in late 1998, when the DILG announced the formation of Emergency Network Philippines, a project that sought to support a national emergency telephone number in order to enable the faster delivery of emergency services to the Filipino people.
On August 8, 2001, a memorandum of agreement was signed between the DILG and Frequentis, an Austrian company specializing in communications and information solutions in safety-critical environments, on the implementation of the ENP project. The National Economic and Development Authority approved the project later in the year, and project funding was secured with a loan agreement being signed between the Philippine and Austrian governments on December 6.
By virtue of Executive Order No. 226, 117 became the official national emergency telephone number of the Philippines on July 14, 2003.
The P1.4 billion project was completed on August 2, 2003, with the opening of a new 117 call center in Quezon City, serving the entire Metro Manila area. Four more 117 call centers were opened in 2006, and the full 117 network, consisting of sixteen networked call centers, was rolled out in 2007.
117 service is available nationwide. Depending on the location of the call, a 117 call will route to any of the sixteen 117 call centers located in various cities around the Philippines. Each call center serves a single region.
117 call centers are located in the following areas:
- Region I: Laoag City
- Region II: Tuguegarao City
- Region III: Balanga City, Bataan
- Region IV-A: Batangas City
- Region IV-B: Puerto Princesa City
- Region V: Legazpi City
- Region VI: Iloilo City
- Region VII: Cebu City
- Region VIII: Tacloban City
- Region IX: Zamboanga City
- Region X: Malaybalay City
- Region XI: Davao City
- Region XII: Koronadal City
- Region XIII: Butuan City
- CAR: Baguio City
- NCR: Quezon City
With the exception of the call centers for the Ilocos Region, Metro Manila, CALABARZON, MIMAROPA and Northern Mindanao, 117 call centers are usually located in a given region's regional center. Due to its non-contiguity, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao is the only region without an independent 117 call center, and as such, 117 calls made in the ARMM are routed to the 117 call center closest to the area where the call is originating from. This may either be the 117 call center in Zamboanga City (for calls originating from Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi), Malaybalay City (for Lanao del Sur) or Koronadal City (for Maguindanao and Shariff Kabunsuan).
When a 117 call is made from a mobile phone, the call is automatically routed to the nearest 117 call center. However, 117 as an emergency number is not registered on most mobile phone models or SIM cards. Because of this, the ENP supports, as a contingency measure, the routing of 1-1-2 and 9-1-1 calls to 117 call centers in the event of an emergency.
- "DILG’s PATROL 117 PROGRAM EXTENDS ASSISTANCE TO 184,000 EMERGENCY CALLS" (Press release). Department of the Interior and Local Government. November 16, 2007. Retrieved October 26, 2008.
- "Milestone Reached in “Emergency Network Philippines“ - First Centre Takes up Operations in Manila" (Press release). Frequentis. August 2, 2003. Retrieved October 26, 2008.
- Project Overview and Objective, Emergency Network Philippines, retrieved October 26, 2008
- Signing of the Memorandum of Agreement, Emergency Network Philippines, retrieved October 26, 2008
- EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 226: INSTITUTIONALIZING THE PATROL "117" AS A NATIONWIDE HOTLINE NUMBER, Office of the President, retrieved November 1, 2008
- Project Milestones, Emergency Network Philippines, retrieved October 26, 2008