As Cebu gears up to welcome back in-person festivities of the annual Sinulog Festival, one of the grandest festivals in the country, authorities are considering various crowd control measures, including signal jamming.
Yet one official who is not on board with the plan to jam phone signals during the festival happens to be Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama himself.
Speaking to reporters, Rama said he was not consulted about the signal shutdown and insisted that phone signals cannot be jammed during the event as it would be difficult for people to find their companions amidst a large crowd.
The Sinulog festival, celebrated in honor of Santo Niño (the Child Jesus), is known to draw over a million visitors each year, with the festival in 2019 drawing 3.5 million.
Meanwhile, the National Telecommunications Commission recently approved a request from the Central Visayas police to jam phone signals at certain times during the weekend, particularly the fluvial and foot processions in honor of the Sto. Niño de Cebu on Jan. 14, and the Sinulog Grand Festival on Jan. 15.
Yet the mayor said that the city should not resort to “primitive” measures.
“I have been making a statement before, let us not get into [a] Jurassic [period] like we are being primitive. Communication is very important. Disconnection should always be frowned upon, so let us not think about [signal] jamming,” he said.
Regional police director Brig. Gen. Jerry Bearis called the request a “proactive measure” of the police to ensure a safe and orderly celebration.
Yet Bearis also clarified that it would be up to the local government to decide if the city would push through with shutting down the signal for this year’s Sinulog.
Over a million visitors, both Filipino and foreigners, join the Sinulog Festival each year, a large festival held in Cebu in honor of Santo Niño. The festivities over the years have evolved from a traditional and religious celebration observed by its devotees to being known for its nightly street parties.