January 8, 2021
The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) will deploy thousands of policemen during the Feast of the Black of the Nazarene on Saturday as many devotees are expected amid the threat of COVID-19.
Brig. General Vicente Danao Jr., National Capital Region Police director, assures that everything is set for the Feast of the Black Nazarene.
"Troops from the Special Action Force who were deployed as early as December 22, 2020 are all in place. Manila Police District will also deploy 6,000 to 7,000 policemen while more or less 20,000 policemen from the other police districts of the NCRPO, regional headquarters and Regional Mobile Force Battalion will be deployed on the day before the Feast of the Black Nazarene,'' the NCRPO said.
Danao and Manila Police director Brig. Gen. Leo Francisco inspected the area, including Sta. Cruz Church, San Sebastian Church, Nazarene Catholic School and Quiapo Church where masses will be held.
Danao emphasized the restrictions that will be implemented during the event. This includes banning of vendors within the vicinity of Quiapo Church, church-goers are not allowed to bring or use backpacks as well as colored canisters.
He said only transparent plastic bags and transparent water containers or bottled water will be allowed.
Danao said this year's Feast of the Black Nazarene became a big challenge because of the threat of COVID-19.
"One of the challenges now is the implementation of the minimum health standard, unlike before (it is ok) even if the people gather together but now we have problem because of COVID, especially how we have the latest strain of virus which is according to the World Health Organization (WHO) it is stronger than the original one so we have to monitor that," he said.
“Since the health standard protocols have been implemented for almost a year, I solicit the cooperation of the church goers to implement self-imposed discipline like wearing face mask, face shield and observance of social distancing at all times.” Danao added.
On the other hand, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) is preparing to beef up security forces of Manila.
The PCG said its personnel and assets are all set for immediate deployment upon request of the Manila city government. Robina Asido/DMS
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