Telcos suspend mobile services in Quiapo after blasts

Mara Cepeda
Telcos suspend mobile services in Quiapo after blasts
(UPDATED) Police requested that cellular signals be jammed for 48 hours in Quiapo, the site of twin explosions

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Telecommunications companies temporarily suspended mobile services in Quiapo and other nearby areas in Manila starting Sunday, May 7, a day after twin explosions rocked the capital. 

Globe made the announcement in a Facebook post at 7:57 pm on Sunday.

“In compliance with a directive from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) upon the request of the Philippine National Police, Globe Telecom will temporarily suspend mobile services for 48 hours in Quiapo, Manila and neighboring vicinities effective immediately,” said Globe.  

Users in the affected areas will not be able to access phone calls, text messages, and mobile data services during the suspension.

“Mobile services, including internet connection, would be restored as soon as the NTC has given clearance for the company to do so. We request for your patience and understanding. Thank you so much!” said Globe.

Smart Communications and Sun Cellular, both owned by PLDT, sent a separate statement on Monday morning, May 8, confirming they had suspended mobile services in certain areas as well.

“We wish to sincerely apologize to our subscribers for the partial shutdown of our mobile phone services that affected certain parts of Manila, Makati, and Quezon City, Sunday evening,” Smart and Sun said.

“This was done upon the instruction of the Philippine National Police through the National Telecommunications Commission. We were advised not to issue an advisory earlier or prior to the shutdown because of the sensitivity of ongoing police operations,” they added.

Two explosions had occurred in Quiapo on Saturday, May 6. (READ: Presidential Security Group checks Manila blast site)

The first killed a yet to be identified motorcycle rider of ride-hailing company Grab, who delivered the package that carried the bomb, and the man who received it, a certain Mohamad Bainga.

The package was intended for Shiite Muslim cleric Nasser Abinal of the Islamic Center. He was not at the office near the Golden Mosque when the package was delivered.

The second blast injured police officers processing the blast site. National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Director Oscar Albayalde was at the site during the second explosion but was immediately escorted out.

International terrorist group Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the blast, but the police dismissed it as propaganda. 

ISIS also claimed responsibility for the pipe bomb explosion in the same district over a week ago, on April 28, that hurt 14 people. The police said that blast was related to a local scuffle. – Rappler.com 

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.