No cellphone signals in Manila during Nazarene feast

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Network services from all telecommunication companies will be shut down in the city of Manila during the Feast of the Black Nazarene on Monday, January 9. 

In an advisory to media, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said this was done upon the request of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

"Security purposes" was cited as the reason for the planned shutdown. 

The DICT, however, did not give the exact time when network services would be shut down or for how long the signal jamming would take effect.

In a statement sent to media early Monday morning, Smart said, "For public security reasons, upon the instructions of the National Telecommunications Commission and the Philippine National Police, we will temporarily shut down mobile phone services in Quiapo, Manila and along the route of the Black Nazarene procession on Monday, January 9."

The telco added that it would restore mobile phone services as soon as it gets the go signal from authorities.

Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno earlier said law enforcement personnel would be placed on "full alert" following intelligence reports that terror groups may launch an attack during the Traslacion, which is expected to attract millions of devotees. 

Late last week, Philippine military and police killed Mohammad Jaafar Maguid, leader of the pro-ISIS Ansar Khalifa Philippines, during an operation. The PNP said it is preparing for possible retaliatory attacks from the terror group.

Days before, there was an attack on a North Cotabato jail and a series of bombings in Leyte and Cotabato.

Police are also imposing a 48-hour gun ban in the city of Manila before, during, and after the feast. – Rappler.com