PH Telcos asked to suspend mobile services for Trasclacion event in Manila

Robie de Guzman
The Black Nazarene enters the Quiapo Church after a near 23-hour procession through Manila, Philippines, 10 January 2017. The feast of the Black Nazarene is one of the most celebrated religious events in the predominantly Catholic Philippines, where more than 80 per cent of the population professes the faith. The wooden statue, crowned with thorns and bearing a cross, is believed to have been brought from Mexico to Manila in 1606 by Spanish missionaries. The ship that carried it caught fire, but the charred statue survived and was named the Black Nazarene.

MANILA, Philippines – The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) have asked the two major local telecommunications company to suspend mobile phone services in select areas during the yearly Traslacion in Quiapo being observed by the Catholic community in the country.

In a memorandum, the NCRPO and the NTC directed the Smart Communications Inc. and Globe Telecom to temporarily shut down services starting on January 8 at 11 p.m. until 12 noon on January 10 in select areas.

“In view of the request of Police Brigadier General Debold Sinas, you are hereby directed to temporarily cut off all network services during the celebration of the feast of Black Nazarene 2020 from 11:00 p.m. January 8 to 12:00 noon January 10, 2020,” the memo read.

“There shall be no signal, direct and/or reflected, in the area specified in the order/directive, coming from any cell sites (base stations),” it added.

In compliance to the directive, Smart Communications posted an advisory on Facebook stating areas which will be affected by the temporary network service shutdown.

“In the interest of public safety, upon the instructions of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), we are temporarily shutting down mobile phone services of Smart, TNT, and Sun in Quiapo, Manila along the route of the Black Nazarene Procession starting Wednesday, 08 January 2020,” it said.

“We are also temporarily stopping the operation of some of our cell sites in parts of Pasay, San Juan, Mandaluyong, Makati, Malabon, Caloocan and Quezon City that are near the procession route,” it added.

The company assured its subscribers that services will be restored as soon as it gets a go-signal from the authorities.

Globe Telecom has yet to respond to the memo.

The Traslacion event held every January 9 draws thousands of Catholic devotees to Quiapo, enduring hours of walk for the procession.

More than 13,000 police officers will be deployed to the event to ensure the peaceful and orderly conduct of the procession.

Authorities have also implemented a suspension of permit to carry firearms outside of residence in Manila starting 8 a.m. January 7 until 8 a.m. January 10.

The gun ban covers Quiapo, Sta. Cruz and Binondo areas in Manila.

Only on duty policemen and other members of the law enforcement agencies are allowed to bring their service firearms in the said areas.

Road closures will also be implemented along the Traslacion route.

Classes in schools and work in offices under Manila City government have also been suspended in anticipation of the large volume of Catholic devotees who will participate in the event. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

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