“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.” –Peter Drucker
At the risk of being accused as imbecile, I reiterate my stand against the decision of authorities to “jam” or suspend cellular phone signals in Iloilo City in the Philippines during the highlights of the Dinagyang Festival on January 27-28, 2018.
If cellular phone signals are jammed or suspended, users along the parade route may not be able to access call, text and mobile data services, according to an advisory from a giant telecommunication firm.
If the purpose is to “prevent” terrorists from disrupting or sabotaging the Ilonggos’ religious and cultural festival, it’s an absurd wishful thinking.
It’s the users that are being punished, not the “terrorists.”
It’s the users that are being inconvenienced, not the enemies.
Cellular phone users with reserved seats in judging areas and those lining up in the streets to watch the performances of competing tribes, will be cut off from their loved ones for several hours only because our authorities are jittery about terrorism.
They may argue that “an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure”; but, in the first place, it’s the job of the police intelligence unit to monitor whether a terrorist group has arrived or is now present within the vicinity of the metropolis days ahead of the festival.
Strict monitoring and sleuthing is part of effective preventive measures.
With their high tech monitoring gadgets, police can always intercept any hostile communication by any intruders.
There should be no more need to disrupt the normal life of civilian mobile phone users.
A cellular phone is man’s most important gadget in this age of social media and 3G mania.
Sometimes he can afford to lose his wallet or even a backpack, but not his cellular phone.
Mobile phone users in the crowd who can’t send a text message or check their Facebook and Instgram accounts for just a few seconds even while watching the ati-ati performances, will surely utter unprintable words or hoist a goblet.
Globe Telecom has nevertheless complied with the directive from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to “temporarily suspend mobile services within the immediate vicinity” of Sinulog festival in Cebu City (January 20-21) and Ati-Atihan festival in Kalibo, Aklan (January 21).
The possibility of organized or home-grown terrorists penetrating the Dinagyang parade routes to create mayhem is next to nil, to say the least, if we consider the following reasons:
- Iloilo City is well-guarded and secured. The Police Regional Office 6 (PRO6) is three minutes away by car from the Plaza Libertad, which is adjacent to the City Hall;
- Some 3,314 police security personnel will be deployed within the vicinity of the parade;
- Enemies or armed bandits will find it hard to reach within the festival’s parameters because traffic is usually blocked across the bridge in La Paz district for north-bound vehicles, and in Molo district for south-bound vehicles. Unless the bombers are parade participants, it’s impossible for them to reach even the rotunda of Gen. Luna St. and Bonifacio Drive;
- Iloilo City, as the “City of Love”, is not the right place for brutal malcontents and invaders wanting to foment violence or terrorism. Its leaders are not known to taunt or spit any inflammatory diatribe against jihadists or other known Islamic extremist groups;
- Since time immemorial or since the Dinagyang Festival romped off officially as a religious and cultural festival in 1967, the Ilonggos have not experienced any violent disruption of horrific proportion from outsiders that would erode their faith on the security measures undertaken by authorities.
Let’s think positive, pray, be vigilant, be merry and enjoy the 50th Dinagyang Festival. Hala bira!/WDJ