Simbang Gabi in NCR peaceful so far

The early stages of this year's Simbang Gabi have been peaceful so far, at least in Metro Manila, police said early Monday.

Metro Manila police said they have not received any report of untoward incidents during the yearly tradition that started Sunday, radio dzBB reported.

But in some parts of Metro Manila, police guarding churches during the "Simbang Gabi" have been placed on alert against possible gang wars as well.

In Pasig City, police are wary of youth gangs and fraternities that may exploit the occasion, radio dzBB's Glen Juego reported.

The report quoted Pasig City police as saying many of those attending the dawn Masses so far are youths, some of whom may be members of gangs or fraternities.

Because of this, the city's police had increased visibility in and around churches where the predawn Masses are being held.

Police earlier said they are keeping watch over churches to protect churchgoers from criminals, and in residential areas to thwart burglars.

As early as Saturday night, Filipino Catholics marked the first of nine predawn Masses leading to Christmas Day. The Simbang Gabi is a Filipino tradition.

Earlier, the Philippine National Police had advised churchgoers not to bring jewelry and large amounts of money to the church lest they attract the attention of muggers and thieves. —KG, GMA News

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