Breaking language barriers with a Tagalog and Spanish emergency alert system

LAS VEGAS — The erroneous emergency alert announcement that shook the state of Hawaii in January sparked panic and fear, when it warned a ballistic missile will strike soon.

This incident shined a light on the Federal Communication Commission, and how the government should handle such alerts.

Senator Catherine Cortez Masto addressed the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, discussing the need to tackle language barriers in Nevada’s emergency alert systems, by using Tagalog and Spanish.

“Not just Spanish language alone, in Nevada, particularly in southern Nevada, we have a huge Filipino population and Tagalog is an important language obviously, and that’s a barrier for those who doesn’t speak Spanish,” said Masto.

It’s an initiative that would benefit many of elderly Filipinos like Nanay Sofia.

At 82, Nanay Sofia takes public transportation, but most of the time she is alone and just watches TV.

“Mas maigi sa akin kung may translation nung english kase kung minsan hindi ako makpag salita ng english hindi ko masyadong maintindihan hindi rin nila ako maintindihan,” said Tabangcura.

Ron Solis manages these busses. He says that the mandate of an emergency alert system in the busses in Tagalog would be a big help for disabled Pinoy passengers.

“With this new system na Tagalog this will tremendously help us kase, whats been happening is; when we have this emergency and it goes to different entity or providers they would not know na talgang emergency yun. But if it boils down to talagang Filipino emergency, it’s in our language, it will be catching. They would really respond to it di lang nila babalewalain,” said Solis.

Solis adds that the transportation’s emergency response protocol in Tagalog will help the Filipino community with disaster preparedness, fire suppression, and basic disaster medical operations as well as light search and rescue operations.

For now, Senator Cortez Masto vows to continue and support the importance of the Tagalog language in the emergency alert systems.


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  • Santiago Del Mundo
    10 February 2018 at 5:14 pm - Reply

    People migrate here in the United States with a self-serving and self-righteous agenda. Every time i am in line somewhere, i always hear “kababayans” talking about other people (e.g. friends, relatives, coworkers, people in front of them, etc.). And they expect that other people should talk to them in Tagalog? I do not know what Senator Masto wants when she started advocating that the emergency announcing system should be in Tagalog? I know for sure that Spanish or Tagalog are not the only dialects in Nevada? It would not be “fair” to other communities in Nevada that she favors just a few dialects only to gain “votes”… This is a similar approach politicians in California used to earn votes but later found out that it is not that simple. Like DACA, politicians abused this shady topic, if you do not agree with it, you are a racist…