This weekend is the Sinulog festival in Cebu. What is Sinulog? Basically its a large dance party and contest with thousands of participants. The festival has its roots in the worship of a wooden statue of the Child Jesus.
Sinulog is the ritual prayer-dance honoring Señor Santo Niño or the Child Jesus.
They sure do love dancing in this country. Truly Filipino culture is a song and dance culture. They will even do a little dance for a 500 year old wooden idol of the Child Jesus.
It is an undeniable fact that the Filipinos are a very superstitious people and the Santo Niño figurine is embedded in the popular piety of this country. You can see this statue everywhere you go. In shops, in taxis, in jeepnys.
In 1521 Ferdinand Magellan landed on the shores of Cebu and presented this abomination to the local chief. The rest, as the say, is history. The Filipinos worship this idol thinking it is actually the Eternal God and Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ. It's not. It's a tricked out piece of wood. And there is no Santo Niño. Not now. Not ever. Jesus was never a saint. He is God. And not only is he God but he is now a man. The child Jesus is all grown up. He will never be a child again. Do Filipinos even read their Bibles? As good Roman Catholics I'm sure they don't.
Along with the usual idolatrous worship and dancing and festivities local law enforcement have decided to add a disturbing and potentially deadly and dangerous twist to this year's festival: jamming all cellphone signals!
Why would they do this?
To prevent a terrorist attack.
Do they really think jamming all cellphone signals is going to prevent an attack that, if it were to occur, must have been planned out in advance and who's perpetrators have no need of using cellphones? You don't need a cellphone to toss a grenade, fire a machine gun, or set off an IED. If they do actually jam all cell signals no one will be able to contact anyone. Having a medical emergency? Need a taxi? Need to send a message to your wayward errand boy? Trying to meet up with friends? Too bad.
This communication cut-off puts the entire city at risk and in danger especially if there is an attack because then everyone will be in the dark about what is happening and will have no idea what precautions to take. Facebook is the national grapevine and if wi-fi is disabled and no one can access Facebook then the whole country will be in the dark about whats happening in Cebu if indeed an attack happens. A total communications blackout would be disastrous.
"Aside from internet and cellphones, the planned network shutdown will also affect banks. Some ATMs have wireless connections."
Isn't that just great? You won't be able to contact anyone and you won't be able to withdraw money you might need.
And who would even think to bomb a "Christian" festival?
Allegedly the Maute group carried out a bombing at a festival last December but no group has taken responsibility. The Philippines has much larger issues to deal with than shabu. They need to exterminate all the insurgent Muslim groups in the country: BIFF, MILF, MNLF, the Maute Group. But this has been an ongoing problem for decades and, like any problem in the Philippines, especially one that involves the government, there is no solution in sight.