Over 27,000 police officers will be deployed to secure the annual feast of the Black Nazarene on Saturday, the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) said on Thursday.
In a statement, NCRPO chief, Brig. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr. said this includes around 7,000 police officers from the Manila Police District (MPD) and some 20,000 police officers from the other districts of the NCRPO, its Regional Mobile Force Battalion as well as members of the PNP Special Action Force.
Danao said these police officers would be deployed on Friday (January 8), a day before the annual feast.
He also reminded of restrictions for this year’s feast such as the ban on vendors within the vicinity of Quiapo Church and the prohibition on bringing backpacks and colored water containers by devotees.
Only transparent plastic bags and water containers would be allowed to prevent any untoward incident, Danao said.
He added that the police would also focus on the implementation of minimum health protocols.
“One of the challenges today is the implementation of the minimum health standards. Unlike before, it is fine even if people are close to each other. Now, we have a problem with Covid-19, especially now we have the latest strain of the virus which is according to the World Health Organization (WHO). It is stronger than the original one that we must watch out for,” Danao said mostly in Filipino.
On Tuesday, Danao and MPD director, Brig. Gen. Leo Francisco inspected areas where Masses would be held for the feast, including Quiapo Church, Sta. Cruz Church, San Sebastian Church, and the Nazarene Catholic School.
This year, the traditional grand procession of the image of the black Jesus Christ from the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta to the Quiapo Church is canceled as mass gatherings remain prohibited due to the pandemic.Both church and police officials have also agreed to close the church and suspend Mass if the quarantine restrictions will not be followed during the annual religious feast. SOVEREIGNPH