Cellphones go silent in Cebu as telcos shut down cell sites for Sinulog

CEBU CITy -- Cebuanos woke up Saturday morning with no signal on their cellphones as telecommunications companies shut down some cell sites around the hub of the Sinulog Festival activities.

"I can't text to my friends. I can't send messages on Facebook," Mai-Mai Vicente, 24, told the Philippine News Agency.

"This is the first time that I have to use a landline to get in touch with my friends," she said.

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has approved a request of the regional police office to jam cellphone signals during the Sinulog Festival activities on Saturday and Sunday.

Police said most bombs are detonated using cellphone signals and they are wary of a repeat of the bombing in Hilongos, Leyte that left at least 32 people injured.

Telecommunications giants Smart and Globe supported the move to switch off some cell sites.

Chief Supt. Noli TaliAo, regional police director, said they want "zero" cellphone signal within the 4-km. Sinulog route and in places where people will converge.

The Sinulog grand parade has been known to attract millions of spectators.

On Saturday, telecommunications companies switched off cell sites before the start of the fluvial parade at 6 a.m.

Cell sites will also be shut down during the Sinulog grand parade on Sunday.

First responders will have to rely on radio communications during the duration of the festival.

Street parties have been barred within 300 meters from the grand parade route.

Police also implemented a gun ban from Jan. 9 until Jan. 18 as they aim for a "zero gun-related incident" during the festivities. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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