Jan 172015

Pilgrims can expect zero mobile phone signals Sunday at the Luneta when millions of people gather for the Catholic mass Pope Francis will preside over.

A security advisory of the Bureau of Immigration posted on Facebook for its security personnel indicated that there “will be no cell sites signal” at the Luneta Sunday Mass with the pope.

The BI advisory was posted Saturday afternoon.

Most mobile phone though are useful not just for sending and receiving calls and texts, so it is unclear why the BI security personnel where told not to bring their cellphones just because there will be no mobile signals.

The official Papal Visit website has an advisory from the Department of Health which reminds pilgrims to bring with them some necessities for their security, safety and personal health. Among the necessities are flashlights, sanitary napkins, wet wipes, hand sanitizers, drinking water, raincoats, hand towels, paper bags and food that does not quickly spoil.
In a televised address, President Benigno Aquino III urged pilgrims going to the papal events to exercise discipline and help authorities secure both the pope and people who come to see him. Aquino tasked Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas to coordinate security measures. The Philippine National Police is attached to the DILG.

Roxas said the Luneta “will be divided into grids” which will double as buffers and emergency exits.

“Eto yung tinatawag na breaker para kung magkatulakan may pupuntahan ang mga tao (this is what you call breaker so that people will have somewhere to go in case they will push against each other),” Roxas was quoted in a DILG news release.

Roxas said the corridors separating the grids should be kept open so that Pope Francis can move around and get as close as possible to the people.

Each grid has been assigned “eight police personnel, 400 AFP reservists, eight – 10 DOH personnel, eight – 10 Red Cross volunteers and two marshals,” according to Roxas. Joel Locsin/ELR, GMA News

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