Over 7,000 police officers will be deployed to secure the annual feast of the Black Nazarene on Jan. 9, the National Capital Region Police (NCRPO) said Friday.
NCRPO chief, Director Guillermo Eleazar, said out of a total of 7,159 cops to be deployed for the event, 1,902 will be deployed at the Quirino Grandstand, 3,129 will be deployed for the procession while 2,128 cops will be deployed in Quiapo.
“The same template (security plan). ‘Yung panggagalingan natin ay ‘yung sa (We are coming from the) Quirino Grandstand, papuntang (then going to) Quiapo. (It will travel) 6.1 kilometers. Each segment, there is corresponding personnel includes medical team and personnel from different government agencies with monitoring from CCTVs,” Eleazar told reporters.
Eleazar also said that that no terror threat has been monitored in time for the annual feast, which millions of devotees are expected to attend.
“We have not received any threat but we are continuously coordinating with agencies and intelligence community every year. For now, everything is fine. We are relying on the vigilance of our fellow Filipino because we must create a huge inteligence network. But as PNP Chief (Director General) Oscar Albayalde said, everyone must work together. That is why we always say people must report suspicious movement or things to authorities,” he explained.
Eleazar said mobile signals would be jammed and a “No Fly Zone” and a “No Sail Zone” will be implemented in Quirino Grandstand, Quiapo, and along the route of the Traslacion.
He also advised parents not to bring their children and also warned devotees not to bring their gadgets and just take enough money with them because of pickpockets.
Religious veneration of the Black Nazarene is rooted among Filipinos, who identify themselves with the Passion of Jesus Christ.
Many devotees of the Black Nazarene relate their poverty and daily struggles to the Passion of the Christ as represented by the image.
There are three annual processions when the statue is brought out for public veneration, Jan. 9, Good Friday, and New Years Day.
The procession during the Jan. 9 feast commemorates the “Traslación”, referring to the transfer of the image to the Minor Basilica.
The Black Nazarene is borne in procession on its Ándas, accompanied by devotees clad in maroon – who walk barefoot as both penance and in imitation of Jesus on his way to Mount Calvary.
Towels or handkerchiefs are hurled into the yellow-clad marshals escorting the Black Nazarene, with requests to wipe these on the statue in hopes that the miraculous powers attributed to it would “rub off” on the fabrics. (PNA/Christopher Lloyd Caliwan)