20,000 cops to secure devotees of Feast of Black Nazarene

Despite the cancellation of the traditional "Traslacion" parade, the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) will still deploy around 20,000 cops to ensure the safety and security of devotees who will go to church for the celebration of the Feast of the Black Nazarene in Metro Manila.

Of these, around 7,000 cops will be deployed in Manila alone -- particularly at the Quiapo Church -- where a throng of devotees is expected to arrive to exercise the yearly tradition of professing their faith, said Brigadier General Vicente Danao Jr., NCRPO 

Danao said there is no monitored security threat related to the festivities but the NCRPO is not letting its guard down.

"Wala po tayong nare-receive na (We have not received any) serious threat but we do not want to be very complacent. Mas maganda full alert para masigurado ang safety and security ng lahat (It's better to be on full alert so we can ensure the safety and security of everyone)," he told reporters.

A liquor ban was also implemented in Manila which would take effect 12 a.m. Saturday, January 9, until the end of the celebration, Danao bared.

"Kami po ay nakikiusap sa mga nasa (We appeal to those who are in) Manila area that there will be a liquor ban effective immediately this midnight. Ito po ay para medyo mabawasan problema natin sa AoR ng Manila (This is to lessen our problems in the AoR of Manila)," he said.

Meanwhile, Danao advised the devotees who will go to church to refrain from bringing backpacks and colored water containers.

"We will only allow the entry of transparent materials. 'Yung kita po ang gamit sa loob," he said.

Some of the activities for this year's celebration of the feast of the Black Nazarene were cancelled due to the threat of COVID-19. 

Among of which is the Traslacion, where the life-like statue of the Black Nazarene is traditionally being paraded for a whole day around the communities in Quiapo Church, attracting millions of devotees.

The Catholic Church earlier urged the devotees to pray in the safety of their homes so they can avoid the risk of being infected with COVID-19 outside.