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Rama, Labella question mobile shutdown, Osmeña apologizes

By: Doris C. Bongcac, Nestle L. Semilla January 13,2017 - 11:40 PM



Are we now conceding that we cannot protect our city if we have our communication continue to be operative? It raises more questions than answers,” said Cebu City Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella in a news conference by members of Team Rama, held Thursday, to announce that they will be joining this year’s Sinulog festivities.

Although Labella has not been involved in the city’s Sinulog preparations, he said that he had been monitoring each and every movement in the security preparations through Cebu City Councilor and Deputy Mayor for police matters Dave Tumulak.

Led by former mayor Michael Rama, the ex-chairman of Sinulog Foundation Inc., Team Rama councilors and supporters will roam the streets today and on Sunday to provide assistance when possibly needed.

“I cannot just also to agree to be watching from afar. Sinulog is us. Señor Sto. Niño belongs to all of us. It does not belong to a party. It does not belong to a government, but it belongs to the people of the Philippines and more particularly … the people of the City of Cebu,” said Rama, himself a Santo Niño devotee.

Asked about his take on this year’s Sinulog changes on matters of security, Rama said he will not make any judgments although he was “shocked” to hear the news about shutting down of cell sites to secure the procession and parade routes.

“I do not even have to be making a statement because any statement that I’ll be coming out, they’ll probably just misinterpret it. I’m just stunned and shocked that there is such a thing as shutting off of signal. I’ve never been an alarmist and you’ve never heard me to be an alarmist. I’ve always been a very pragmatic, optimistic organizer of the Sinulog,” he said.

“Let’s all pray for Sinulog. Let’s put our hearts in the power of Señor Sto. Niño, not the power of one or two people making the decision to shut signal,” said Rama.

Cebu City Councilor Pastor Alcover Jr., who was also present in the press conference, said he believes more in the power of prayer.

“Prayer is more powerful than bombs. If we believe in God, we believe the power of Sto. Niño,” said Alcover.

Osmeña explains shut down move

In a Facebook post last night, Mayor Tomas Osmeña apologized for the inconvenience caused by the shutdown of cell sites.

“I’m very sorry for the inconvenience of the cell shutdown, but it is an inconvenience that can save lives. The Hilongos terror bombing in Leyte a few weeks ago involved 2 bombs, of which one failed to detonate. The detonator on the retrieved bomb was designed to be activated by cell. The bomb that exploded in Davao last September was also likely detonated by cell,” Osmeña explained.

The mayor assured that police and medical personnel will be stationed around the city “in such a way that even without cellular communication, you will be able to find someone fairly quickly. More quickly than calling for police or an ambulance on a regular day, in fact. But just in case, remember that all landlines are still active,” Osmeña said.

“Even with the additional personnel the military is sending, the police is still a force of thousands trying to protect a population of millions. They cannot be everywhere all the time… We need your help. If you spot anything suspicious, please report it immediately to the first policeman you find. It’s that simple. We’ll handle the rest,” Osmeña added.
Osmeña explained that it was not his intention to “darken the mood of the Sinulog” with his FB post, “but your safety is my priority above everything else.”

The National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) advised that today, January 14, the mobile communications shutdown will be from 3 a.m. to 10 a.m. and again between 12 noon to 8 p.m.

The cities of Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu will be affected by the signal disruptions.

On Sunday, there will be no signal, “direct and/or reflected coming from any cell site (Base Stations) in Cebu City” starting 3 a.m. up to 7 p.m., the NTC advisory said./with reports from Jheysel Ann Tangaro, USJ-R Masscom intern

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TAGS: Cebu City, cellphone, communication, Dave Tumulak, Edgardo, Edgardo Labella, Labella, Sinulog Festival, Team Rama

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