THE National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) will use over 2,000 policemen to serve as an “andas wall” to prevent the devotees from coming near the carriage of the Black Nazarene during its procession on January 9, an official said Monday, January 6.
NCRPO Director Brigadier General Debold Sinas said the policemen will form an “andas wall” in front, back and on the sides of the carrier to prevent the devotees from climbing on it to kiss the patron.
He also warned people against forcefully pulling the ropes attached to the andas, saying this causes accidents.
He said these were among the changes they have implemented in coordination with the organizers of the annual feast to ensure the continuous and fast movement of the procession, as well as the safety of the devotees.
“Isa sa mga dahilan kung bakit nagtagal ang procession, dahil sinasalubong. Wala nang maka-forward. So ang gagawin namin, lahat na from point one hanggang sa dulo, may mga pulis na yan to prevent na crowd na mag-stand by doon sa dadaanan ng andas,” Sinas said in a press briefing in Quiapo, Manila.
“Bawal yung isang grupo na papasok at makikipag-agawan kasi doon maraming aksidente,” Sinas said.
The police also urged the devotees to focus on praying and reflecting during the procession, instead of making noise using drums or forcing to get near the image of the Black Nazarene.
The procession usually takes almost a day to reach the Quiapo church from the Quirino Grandstand due to the thousands of devotees participating in the event. In 2019, the procession lasted for 21 hours.
Sinas said over 13,500 police personnel and 3,000 personnel from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will be deployed to ensure the peace and order during the religious event.
Meanwhile, PNP officer-in-charge Lieutenant General Archie Gamboa said there were no threats monitored directly connected to the event amid the arising tension between Iran and United States.
“So far, there is no direct threat or there is no direct implication that it is so, but nevertheless, we are continuing our intelligence monitoring and if there is such a requirement, then the PNP will adjust accordingly,” he said.
“Although we do not expect any serious security issue in this event, we will exercise utmost prudence and readiness in anticipation of perennial public safety scenarios associated with this annual event,” he added.
He appealed for the cooperation of the devotees and organizers to ensure the safety of all those who will join the event. (SunStar Philippines)