Cebu city mayor shoots down police’s planned ‘signal shutdown’ during Sinulog

CEBU CITY -- Mayor Michael Rama shot down the ‘signal shutdown’ that the police planned to impose during the Sinulog Festival on Sunday, Jan. 15.

Rama lamented that the city government was not consulted when the Police Regional Office-Central Visayas (PRO-7) requested the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) for a signal shutdown during certain times and areas on Jan. 14 and Jan. 15.

The NTC has already approved the request.

In a memorandum that the NTC issued to four telecommunication companies, network services must be cut off in the cities of Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu and Cebu during the fluvial procession from 4 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Jan. 14.

Another signal shutdown will be implemented in Cebu City from 12 noon to 8 p.m. on Jan. 14 for the solemn procession.

Then during the Sinulog Festival on Jan. 15, network services in downtown Cebu City and South Road Properties will be cut off from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Although the request was already approved, Rama said no signal shutdown will be imposed in the city during the Sinulog festivities.

"Our position, in the spirit of festivity and in the spirit of connectivity and most of all in the spirit of local autonomy, shall be jamming is abhorred, and therefore there shall be no cellphone signal jamming and there shall be no shutdown," Rama said in a press briefing on Wednesday, Jan 11.

Rama said his opposition was already relayed to the PRO-7.

"That is already our pronouncement and please let them know that is the stand of the city government,” Rama said.

Rama is also firm on his stand to have the Sinulog Grand Parade and ritual showdown be held at the South Road Properties (SRP).

Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia is one those who called on the city government to stage the Sinulog at its traditional venue which is the Cebu City Sports Center.

The stage and the bleachers at SRP have yet to be completed with a few days left before the Sinulog.

“We are working hard to prepare the new venue,” Rama said.

As to the recommendation of Garcia, Rama said he will just call the governor to explain his side.

“We are friends and I will call her,” Rama said.