Shutdown to depend on security ‘threats’

DESPITE the announcement of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) of a cellular shutdown during the Sinulog, the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 said the schedule of the cutting of signal may change, depending on security threats that may arise.

Police Brig. Gen. Valeriano de Leon told reporters it will be up to the police to decide on what hours the signal shutdown will be implemented during the solemn foot procession on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, and the grand parade Sunday, Jan. 19.

De Leon said the schedule in the early advisory issued by the NTC may not be heeded as the signal shutdown would depend on possible threats.

But there will still be a shutdown, De Leon said, on the hours the NTC mentioned in its advisory, subject to possible change by the police.

The NTC advisory said that, on Saturday, phone signals will be out from 4 a.m. to 10 a.m. during the seaborne procession and from 12 noon to 8 p.m. during the foot procession.

In the morning activity, areas that will be affected by the signal shutdown include the cities of Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu. In the afternoon, only the uptown and downtown areas of Cebu City will be affected.

During the Sinulog grand parade on Sunday, the signal shutdown will be between 3 a.m. and 7 p.m. or when the parade ends. Areas to be affected will be uptown and downtown Cebu City.

For his part, Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella said the NTC order for the scheduled signal shutdown will be necessary, especially since President Rodrigo Duterte will be attending the festivities, in particular the Sinulog grand parade on Sunday.

Labella is to meet Duterte’s party at the airport Sunday. This means he would have to cancel his part in the dance of the Provincial Government’s contingent with Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia at the grand stage.

Globe Telecom external affairs director Patrick Gloria, meanwhile, said the signal shutdown might entail economic losses for them, but they will comply with the order for the safety of those participating in the religious and cultural activities.

Gloria advised users to go to malls and coffee shops where wired internet connection would still be possible in order to communicate with their families and loved ones.

Meanwhile, seven brand-new air assets from the Philippine National Police arrived in Cebu on Friday. (AYB, PAC, JOB / JKV)