By NITZ ARANCON
and LITO RULONA
AUTHORITIES would jam telecommunication signals again today in time for the annual civic-military parade ahead of tomorrow’s Feast of St. Augustine, the patron saint of this predominantly Roman Catholic city.
The signals would be jammed again tomorrow, fiesta day, because of a religious procession.
The telecommunication signals were jammed earlier this week due to the street dancing festival organized as one of the major pre-fiesta activities.
National Telecommunications director for northern Mindanao Teodoro Buenavista said the signal jammings were given the go-ahead by Telecommunications Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba based on the request of Mayor Oscar Moreno.
Just like last year, Moreno had written to NTC to ask NTC to temporarily disrupt cellphone signals during the fiesta-related activities as part of security measures.
There have been numerous instances when terrorist bomb attacks were carried out using crude bombs with cellphone-dependent detonating devices.
Buenavista said the cellphone signals would be jammed even before the start of the civic-military parade, and telecommunication services would resume once police authorities give the green light.
Buenavista said the same thing would happen before, during and after tomorrow Señor San Agustin procession.
Today’s parade is scheduled to start at 7 am while tomorrow’s fiesta procession would start at 4 am.
Buenavista said that before Moreno’s request was approved by the NTC, it passed the office of police regional director Brig. Gen. Rafael Santiago and then Camp Crame. He said the police made an assessment of the security situation first and they saw that Moreno had a good reason for making the request.
Buenavista said it was National Police Director General Oscar Albayalde who then endorsed Moreno’s request to the NTC.
“We are very sorry to all cellphone users,” said city police director Col. Henry Dampal.
Dampal said even the police would resort to using hand-held radios because of the absence of cellphone signals during the crucial periods.
Dampal said the signal disruptions were needed in order to fully secure key areas like the rotunda in Macasandig and Nazareth, Don Apolinar Velez Street, CM Recto Ave. up to the Limketkai area.