THE interruption of cellular phone signals during the Sinulog activities in January 2020 was discussed during a meeting attended by representatives of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO), Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño and different government agencies.
P/Col. Giovanie Maines, CCPO officer-in-charge, said his office will send a recommendation to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) 7, asking for the signal shutdown during major Sinulog-related activities.
Shutting down cell phone signals had been implemented in the past Sinulog activities, particularly during the grand parade on the third Sunday of January.
Maines further said that more meetings would be convened with other government agencies to facilitate the Sinulog’s security preparations.
NTC 7 Director Jesus Laureno said a process would be undertaken before shutting down the signals. This includes the request-letter from the Police Regional Office 7 and the Philippine National Police chief, which the NTC 7 would send to its central office in Metro Manila for approval.
One of the Sinulog-related activities that the CCPO personnel are preparing for is a concert that will be held at the South Road Properties. Maines said they should secure this event as several teenagers are expected to join it.
For his part, Sinulog Foundation’s security head Fr. Aladdin Luzon said the programs for the Sinulog have been laid out already, and there are changes in the route of the solemn procession. He said these activities and changes will be announced in the coming days.
In 2018, the cell phone signals were shut down during Traslacion—the transfer of the Holy Child’s image from the Basilica to St. Joseph Parish in Mandaue City. After a mass, the image was transferred to the Our Lady of the Rule Church in Lapu-Lapu City.
During the seaborne parade, the signal shutdown was still in effect.
Thousands of police officers, military officers, other uniformed personnel and volunteers secured the Sinulog Grand Parade.
During the solemn procession, Maines said, they will still not allow devotees to carry backpacks and wear ball caps. This is for security reasons. (AYB / KAL)