Mayor nixes anew signal jamming for Dinagyang

(June Dale Lozada/file photo)

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas stood firm on his earlier pronouncement that signal jamming is unlikely to be implemented during the key activities of the world-renowned Dinagyang Festival on January 27 to 28.

“It’s final. While there is, I think another letter of appeal that was sent to the City Council. The City Council will have to go over that and see that. As far as I am concerned, it is final,” Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas said in a press conference on Monday.

He further mentioned that he had already directed the city engineering office to install more lighting and CCTVs in esplanades, bike lanes, and areas where Ati-atihan tribes will be performing.

Treñas is set to meet with the Iloilo City Police Office and other law enforcement agencies this week to discuss what other measures will be implemented in lieu of signal jamming.

The city mayor also previously stressed that “there is no reason” for the city government to implement signal jamming, citing that the city is safe and peaceful.

He noted the concerns of Ilonggos about the potential adverse effects of signal jamming on neighboring municipalities and even the Iloilo International Airport in Cabatuan town.

“The last time they did it, the whole city, including the airport, and Oton, was affected by the signal jam, and we received so many complaints about it,” he said.

Councilor Sedfrey Cabaluna, who chairs the committee on public safety, said on January 18 that the City Council is likely to reject the proposal for a mobile phone signal shutdown during the key activities of the Dinagyang.

The City Council, Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6), National Telecommunications Commission, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry-Iloilo Chapter, and representatives from major telecommunication companies convened to discuss the proposal in a committee hearing on January 18.

“The recommendation that we will most likely bring to our session on Wednesday (January 24), is to deny the request for a signal shutdown since it is not feasible to target specific areas […] Our recommendation would really be not to approve the request,” Cabaluna explained.

PRO-6 Regional Operations Management Division chief Colonel Gilbert Gorero also noted that while another hearing is yet to be conducted, what was discussed at the first committee hearing implies the rejection of their proposal.

“Based on the discussion that we have, our request cannot be granted,” he said.

Gorero said that based on their request, the City Council does not have a signal jamming device to be placed in judging areas and places where activities will be conducted.

PRO-6 chief BGen. Sidney Villaflor on January 15 said that if the proposed signal shutdown in Dinagyang judging areas will be denied, he will request a signal jamming authorization from Camp Crame.