By Martin Sadongdong
Around 7,200 police officers will be deployed to secure millions of devotees who are expected to attend the “Traslacion” or Feast of the Black Nazarene procession in Manila on January 9, the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) disclosed Friday.
NCRPO Director Guillermo Eleazar said 2,200 cops will be coming from the Manila Police District (MPD) while the remaining 5,000 personnel will serve as augmentation force from the Regional Mobile Force Battalion (RMFB) and the other four districts namely the Quezon City Police District (QCPD), Northern Police District (NPD), Eastern Police District (EPD) and Southern Police District (SPD).
The 6.1-kilometer procession will start at the Quirino Grandstand and will end at the Quiapo Church.
The route is divided into 10 segments: Segment 1 is from Quirino Grandstand to P. Burgos corner Roxas Boulevard; Segment 2 from P. Burgos/Roxas Boulevard to Finance Road; Segment 3 from Finance Road to Bonifacio Shrine or KKK Monument; Segment 4 from Bonifacio Shrine/KKK Monument to Jones Bridge-Escolta; Segment 5 from Escolta-Quintin Paredes Street to C. Palanca Plaza Fair;
Segment 6 from Palanca/Sta. Cruz to Palanca-Quezon Boulevard; Segment 7 from Arlegui/Quezon Blvd. to Arlegui-Nepomuceno Street; Segment 8 from Arlegui-Nepomuceno to Carcer-F.R. Hidalgo Street; Segment 9 from Carcer-Hidalgo to Gonzalo Puyat to Guzman Street; and Segment 10 from De Guzman-Puyat-Villalobos Street to Quiapo Church.
“Each segment, we will have a complete structure. It is manned by a commander with all the components and assistance from other government agencies,” Eleazar said in a press conference held at a base in Quiapo Church together with the local government unit of Manila, Church representatives, and other concerned agencies.
Currently, Eleazar said three activities were already finished as part of the Traslacion 2019.
These are the Thanksgiving Procession held on December 31, 2018; the Procession of the Blessed Virgin Mary last January 1; and the First Friday Mass held on January 4.
“So we have three more activities remaining: the blessing of the replicas of the Black Nazarene on January 7; the “Pahalik” on January 8; and the actual procession on January 9,” he explained.
The procession will start at midnight of January 9 with a mass at the Quirino Grandstand; followed by the morning prayer at around 1 a.m.
The procession will start at 5 a.m.
A few days before the event, Eleazar said the NCRPO is already 85-percent ready and he expects the force will be 100-percent okay on the day of the procession.
“We have not received any security threat as of now but our monitoring is continuous. We’re coordinating with the entire intelligence community,” Eleazar said.
“We’re also hoping for the vigilance of the public so that if they noticed any suspicious individuals or activities, they should report it to the nearest police station for an immediate action or just dial 911,” he added.
He noted that the NCRPO requested concerned agencies to implement a no-fly, no sail, and no telecommunications signal zone in the routes covered by the procession.
“We request the public to bring a lot of patience. Do not bring pointed objects and other prohibited items that may cause injury to other people,” Eleazar said.
“We also advise the devotees to refrain from bringing small children. This is not like an event at an amusement park. Last time, it took 22 hours from Quirino Grandstand to Quiapo because a lot of devotees wanted to touch the Black Nazarene, most of them were small children,” he recalled.
The NCRPO estimates that for this year, around 2.5 million devotees will participate in the Traslacion.