Organizers request shutdown of cellphone signals during Dinagyang

Iloilo Dinagyang Foundation Inc. (IDFI) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) have requested the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to shutdown cellular phone signals during the two-day highlights of the 2017 Dinagyang Festival.

In a letter-request dated January 17, organizers said that the signal cut-off is facilitated as they are “working out for peaceful and orderly celebration of the Dinagyang Festival.”

Specific areas will include the five judging areas and the food festival site along Delgado-Valeria streets.

NTC regional office in Western Visayas received the letter which was immediately endorsed to Manila central office for appropriate action.

UPDATE: NTC approved the network signal shutdown on January 21-22.

The request has to be approved by Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba and will be the one to advise concerned telecommunication companies to enforce the signal jamming. Deputy Commissioners of the NTC were also furnished of the request.

Senior Superintendent Remus Zacharias Canieso, director of the Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO), said signal jamming will only be done during worst case scenarios. However, to date, there was no intelligence information as to security threats of the festival.

He also assured that the ICPO is ready to provide the necessary security during the festival. More than 3,500 uniformed and non-uniformed personnel will be deployed during the duration of the celebration.

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There will also be augmentation from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and force multipliers.

As part of their preparations, he disclosed that simulation exercises were conducted on January 18 covering scenarios on drowning, bombing, fire incident, stampede, hostage taking and shooting, among others.

“We consider our sector as stand-alone unit thus, they have to manage the situation immediately so that it will be easier for the reinforcement to facilitate conduct of investigation, crowd control and emergency evacuation when necessary,” explained Canieso.

He added that they will be posting security policy in strategic areas for the public to know of what are allowed and prohibited during the festival.

The Dinagyang Festival is a religious-cultural activity that is held annually in honor of Señor Santo Niño. This year’s celebration anchors on the theme ‘Communion of Communities in Señor Santo Niño’ with ‘See, Feel, Love’ as tagline. [via PNA]

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