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Philippine Emergency Hotlines 911 and 8888 - What You Need To Know

The Philippines just activated its nationwide 911 Emergency hotline last Monday and most Filipinos are quick to dial the number just to test or ask questions about the hotline.

I know that different news agencies have already given so much info on this but in the "spirit of public service", I inquired and sent several questions to the Official Facebook page of the Philippine Information Agency. After 30 minutes, I got a reply.
This is a transcript of their reply. It was done in a formal manner and I ensured that the emergency hotlines were not abused since there is no need. I can get the information that I need by going through the proper channels.

1.) What was the exact time and date the Philippine Government activated the new 911 and 8888 hotlines?

Hi, Jepoy thank you for your queries. Please check the infographic to answer some of your questions.

For question No. 1, the 911 hotline went live 12 am August 1 while the 8888 went live a day after the SONA but no official launching.

2.) Are these numbers accessible anywhere in the Philippines? Do we have to dial special codes or area codes if we wanted to call 911 or 8888 from our landlines or cellphones? (example, if we live somewhere in Bicol, do we have to dial Metro Manila or Davao City's area codes on our cellphones and landlines? Or we just dial 911 or 8888 directly?)

Yes, the 911 hotline is accessible nationwide and no need for special codes.

For 8888, you have to dial 02 area code for Manila.

3.) In the press conference last Aug 1, the PNP chief said that the 911 hotline currently accepts police related emergencies only. Does this mean if I have a medical emergency, the 911 hotline cannot help me?

All kinds of emergencies are handled by 911.

4.) Calls are currently not free to these hotlines, what if my prepaid mobile number has no credits left? Can I still call 911 if I have an emergency?

If you lack credits you can still call 911. Fees uncovered will be deducted once you load up your phone.
5.) What's the expected response time of the police or emergency response personnel once the hotline operators logged my call?

We are targeting a 15 minute quick response time.

6.) What kinds of complaints do the 8888 accept? Is this the same as what ABS-CBN's program HOY! GISING! offer? (ex. uncollected pile of garbage)

8888 are for complaint calls on Philippine Government personnel and officials.

7.) What penalties await prank callers? Can they be traced?

Yes. Tracked pranksters (using their mobile phones) will have their SIM Cards blocked.

8.) Do you have any messages to prank callers or to those who'd attempt to test the hotline?

Stop making prank calls.

There you have it folks. Some basic information about the Philippines' newest emergency hotline.

I made this inquiry to prove a point.
TechPinas' deleted tweet
A few days ago, I saw a tweet from a popular Filipino technology blogger TechPinas. At first I thought it was an emergency but I was appalled when I learned that he used the emergency hotline for an interview under the guise of "in the spirit of public service."

This didn't sit well with a lot of netizens though so he drew a lot flak (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7source: Detective OPS). He also deleted all of the not so good comments on his blog which condemned his actions.
Some comments on before they got deleted (photo submitted to via email)
As of 9:00PM today, TechPinas has edited his post (without notice) to justify what he did. He added this in the middle of his blog post:
I've previously tried asking questions directly to the Presidential Communications team on social media but I never really got a reply.

I made this 2-minute call in the spirit of public service and my desire to help my fellow Filipinos especially those who are still clueless about this government service that we are just getting nationwide for the first time in history. I properly introduced myself as a tech blogger and asked the operator beforehand she could answer the questions, to which she said 'yes'.

Technically, a prank call is a telephone practical joke (source) or is a call that is made to trick someone. The call that we made is meaningful as it is journalistic in nature and serves the purpose of empowering people with knowledge. TechPinas condemns prank calling and moving forward, does not encourage Filipinos to call Hotline 911 for non-emergency reasons.
To Mark / TechPinas, this is just wrong. First of all, if you want to empower people with knowledge, do it so using yours. You cannot empower people when you yourself can't even grasp the basic meaning of "for emergency calls" only. Don't use the excuse that the operator allowed herself to be interviewed. They were not yet trained to handle these types of calls. If I was able to get more accurate information in less than an hour without using the emergency hotline than your 2-minute call, why can't you?

Second, why hide on the technicality of the term "prank call" and "public service" ? You clearly made a mistake. It is wrong to use an emergency hotline if you're not in an emergency situation. Period. No amount of explanation can justify that. Simply man up and tell the world it won't happen again. Do not hide in the shade of "public service."

Third, you are a famous blogger. A blogger with almost 40,000 Facebook followers. A blogger recognized by institutions thru various awards. Your opinion holds sway over thousands of readers at any given time. That fame has gained you several direct sponsors, brand ambassador positions, and even regular television stints. I am not asking for anything special just that you become more responsible with all of your posts.

Do not delete comments and edit posts to "justify" your side. You do so at your leisure without even notifying your "dear" readers that you edited and added a substantial amount of content that changed the entire context. You made a wrong move in getting your "scoop" that eventually is okay but your recent actions are unacceptable for a respected online personality.

What does that make you? Is it wrong to call you a manipulator now?

UPDATE 08/05/2016 12:01am: Added public links to netizens' reactions

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