THE Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) acknowledged proposing to the Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) during their security conference that they implement a cellphone signal shutdown for this year's Sinulog activities, but Mayor Michael Rama rejected it.
Rama said he did want to obstruct the people's capacity to speak with their loved ones on such a significant day.
Police Lieutenant Colonel Janette Rafter, the deputy city director for operations of the CCPO, claimed that the mayor, as the chairman of Sinulog Foundation, has the final say on the matter and that they will abide by his decision.
However, Rafter stated that they have a backup plan in case tight security measures are needed.
The CCPO will station more than 300 policemen both inside and outside the basilica.
Also, 18 K9 units will alternately inspect the bags to make sure that no illegal goods are brought in.
Fr. John Ion Miranda, the spokesperson for Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño, stated that they have also 80 security guards who will inspect the belongings of pilgrims entering the basilica.
The Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO 7) has not yet given the CCPO instructions for when to put the city on full alert in accordance with the celebration.
In last year’s Sinulog festival, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has approved the PRO 7’s request to shut down telecommunication services during the solemn procession in January 14 and the grand parade in January 15.
In their letter, the PRO 7 stated that the purpose of their request was to guarantee the safety and security of the Sto. Niño devotees. (With TPT)