Netizens not informed about Miss U signal shut down outside of Lapu-Lapu

By Ryan Macasero |January 17,2017 - 01:47 PM
Miss Universe 2016 candidates at JPark Island Resort and Waterpark for the Swimsuit Presentation. (CDN PHOTO/ DR. XAVIER SOLIS)

Miss Universe 2016 candidates at JPark Island Resort and Waterpark for the Swimsuit Presentation. (CDN PHOTO/ DR. XAVIER SOLIS)

For the second time this week, cell phone signal was shut down in Cebu. First during the Sinulog Festival and today for the Miss Universe swimsuit competition happening at the Jpark Resort in Lapu-Lapu City on Mactan Island.

Police Regional Office 7 (PRO-7) Director Noli Taliño told reporters in a press conference on Monday, January 16, that cell phone signal in Lapu-Lapu City would be turned off once again starting at 4 a.m. But in the morning of January 17, netizens complained that areas outside of Lapu-Lapu City were included in the shutdown.

A follower of Cebu Daily News’ Facebook page worries about the unanticipated signal outage since his uncle is sickly and they have no other means of communication.

The follower, who lives about 20 kilometers away from the Miss Universe venue, said they were not warned by their telecommunication provider that they would be affected by the signal shutdown.

He said they would need to their telco’s hotline number in case of an emergency.

Smart Philippines, Globe Telecom and Sun Cellular all turned off their mobile service in Lapu-Lapu City after they were directed to do so by the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC). The NTC acted on the request of the Philippine National Police to shut down their cell sites on Mactan Island as a safety measure, similar to what was imposed during the Sinulog Festival’s processions and grand parade last Saturday and Sunday.

Smart Philippines, in an advisory posted on its Facebook page on Monday, said the telco was to “temporarily suspend” mobile phone services of Smart, TNT and Sun “on January 17 (Tuesday) and the morning of Wednesday, January 18, at the venues and parade routes of the Miss Universe Pageant activities on Mactan (Island), specifically areas near and around the J Park Island Resort and Waterpark, and the Mactan Cebu International Airport.”

The advisory did not mention that subscribers beyond Lapu-Lapu City would also experience signal outages.

But lawyer Mary Jane Paredes, head of Smart Corporate Communications in the Visayas, explained to Cebu Daily News in a statement: that they had no choice but to turn off cell sites outside of Lapu-Lapu since the signal from mainland Cebu still reached Mactan.

“To suspend service in defined areas, we switch off cell sites serving these places. However, the signal of some cell sites in areas farther away may, for various technical reasons, also reach the shutdown zone. For example, some cell sites in higher elevations. We are thus compelled to shut down these cell sites as well,” she explained.

During the similar shut down that took place during the Sinulog, cell sites in the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu and Talisay and as far as the towns of Minglanilla in  the south and Consolacion and Liloan in the north were also turned off even as the events only took place in Cebu City and Mandaue City.

Responding to a callout on Cebu Daily News’ Facebook and Twitter accounts, netizens subscribed to Globe, Smart, Sun and TM reported outages from Compostela, Liloan and down to Barangay Tisa in Cebu City.

While Globe had published an advisory on Facebook on the areas affected by the Sinulog signal shut down, there were no posts on the areas that would be affected by the shutdown for the Miss Universe event.

CDN reached out to Globe for a statement, but has not received a response as of posting time.

While signal had been restored temporarily after 11 a.m., Smart said another shut down would happen from 1 p.m. until around 8 p.m. today.

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