No cell signal shutdown during Sinulog Festival, says Cebu City mayor

Ryan Macasero
No cell signal shutdown during Sinulog Festival, says Cebu City mayor
Mayor Edgar Labella says keeping the signal on would help authorities – as well as families – stay connected but a shutdown may happen if police discover a threat

CEBU CITY, Philippines – For the first time since 2016, there will be no cellular phone signal shutdown during Sinulog, Cebu City Mayor Edgar Labella said on Wednesday, January 8. 

Labella made the statement in an ambush interview after he met with local police to assess the security risk of a signal shutdown during the important event.

“It will be hard for them to communicate if there is a signal shutdown,” the mayor said. 

Cebu City first imposed a citywide signal shutdown in 2017, after unknown attackers bombed a town fiesta in Hilongos in December 2016. (READ: Special task group created to probe Leyte blast)

This is the first Sinulog festival under Labella’s watch. 

Labella believed keeping the signal on would be more conducive to safety than shutting it off. “There will be millions billeted in hotels around the city. It’s important that families, friends, relatives are able to contact each other,” he said. 

The first-term mayor clarified, however, that there may be shutdown if authorities discover a threat.  Cebu City Police Officer director Colonel Engelbert Soriano said if that happens, police would not be obliged to inform the public ahead of time.

“Once we get from intelligence component, a report that calls for the shutdown of networks, we will do it right away,” Soriano said. 

Soriano took over the post as officer-in- charge only on December 27, 2019. –

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Ryan Macasero

Ryan covers Cebu and the Visayas for Rappler. He covers all news in the region, but is particularly interested in people stories, development issues and local policy making.