Naga City a ‘dead spot’ at start of Peñafrancia
Airwaves over Naga City went dead yesterday at the start of one of the country’s biggest religious festivals, Feast of the Our Lady of Peñafrancia.
One of the country’s two main mobile service providers, Smart Telecommunications, said it shut down cell phone and internet signals in the interest of public safety at the start of the Peñafrancia feast.
Ramon Isberto, Smart public affairs chief, said phone and internet signals went off from noon to 6 p.m. as part of security measures for the festival which drew close to a million pilgrims and tourists to Naga.
Police earlier enforced gun and liquor bans in Naga for the nine-day celebration of the Peñafrancia feast.
Mayor John Bongat had met with police and military officials for security measures in Naga that were tighter than usual in the wake of the Sept. 2 terror attack in Davao City, where 14 people were killed and 67 wounded.
Allen Reondanga, chief of the Naga City events, protocol and public information office, said police banned backpacks, bags and umbrellas along the route of the traslacion (procession of barefoot male devotees).
The feast for Our Lady of Peñafrancia, known as Ina, is centuries-old that started in 1710. It started with the transfer of the image of Ina from the Our Lady of Peñafrancia Shrine adjoining the Basilica Minore de Peñafrancia to the Naga Metropolitan Cathedral, where it will stay for the nine-day novena.
The feast culminates with a fluvial procession at Naga River when the image is returned to the Basilica Minore.
Senior Supt. Julius Muñez, Naga police director, said police are prepared for the festival. Juan Escandor Jr. and Mar S. Arguelles, Inquirer Southern Luzon
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.