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NTC okays shutdown during fiesta: No cell signal in Cebu, Bohol

NTC okays shutdown during fiesta: No cell signal in Cebu, Bohol

CEBU, Philippines — The signal shutdown during the Sinulog is expected to affect the entire island of Cebu and some parts of Bohol.

The National Telecommunications Commission yesterday said the police’s recommendation to disable telecom signals during major religious and cultural events for the Fiesta Señor and the Sinulog is “good as approved.”

“If ever naa request ma-approve gyud na kay top priority ang safety and security (If ever there is a request it should be approved because safety and security are top priorities),” said NTC-7 Regional Director Jesus Laureno.

Laureno admitted that the effect will not be confined to Cebu City, where the Sinulog activities will be held. He explained that this is due to the embedded technology within mobile phones to look for the nearest cellular sites.

“It may be to entire Cebu kay ang ato cellphone naay capability to roam, mangita gyud og nearest cellsites aron makakuha (og) signal… Posible pareha sa first time nga shut off gyud, mas lapad gyud ang affected (because our cellphone has a roaming capability to detect the nearest cellsites. So it is possible that the areas affected will be wide, similar to what happened during the first shut down),” he said.

The signal shutdown was recommended by the police to be done during the solemn procession on January 19 and on January 20 during the Sinulog Grand Parade.

Cebu City Police Office director Senior Supt. Royina Garma said the signal shutdown will be limited only to specific hours where security is considered critical.

Garma urged the public to understand and cooperate. She also asked business owners that require telecom signals to resume their operations only after the shutdown. Those with wired connections, however, will not be affected.

More handheld radio

Considering that mobile phones will not be used during the signal shutdown, the CCPO has acquired 100 more units of two-way radio for communication. The NTC has also provided additional security cameras to CCPO.

Garma said that she also have 250 more police personnel from the Regional Mobile Force Battalion to augment the security for the Sinulog.

The Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) also plans to procure at least 100 handheld radios for communication during the Sinulog Grand Parade on January 20.

Sinulog Executive Committee chairman and Cebu City Councilor David Tumulak said they needed the equipment to ensure that communication will not be affected despite the signal shutdown.

“Magprocure nasad ta ani og mga handheld radios…Handheld radios nalang maoy usa sa atoang gamiton and mosuway tang hangyo sa usa ka Telcos using the lines nga naa sa daplin sa dalan (We will procure handheld radios, we will use handheld radios instead and we will also request one of the telcos to use their lines along the road),” Tumulak said.

Tumulak is also set to meet with the other concerned offices to discuss their contingency plan.

Meanwhile, Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III welcomed the decision of the police to implement signal shutdown. Davide, who is also the chairman of the Regional Peace and Order Council, said this has already proven to be effective.

In fact, it is already the third year that the police recommended signal shutdown as part of the security measures for the Sinulog. — With Lorraine Mitzi A. Ambrad (FREEMAN)


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