Metro police force on full alert for Black Nazarene feast
MANILA, Philippines—The entire 15,000-strong police force in Metro Manila was placed on full alert on Monday to secure the annual Black Nazarene procession in Quiapo, Manila, amid a terror threat disclosed by President Aquino.
All available forces of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) will be deployed along the procession route that will take the miraculous Black Nazarene image from the Quirino Grandstand to Quiapo church where throngs of devotees are expected to converge.
In a statement, Philippine National Police Director General Nicanor Bartolome said he has placed the NCRPO under the highest full alert “as part of a comprehensive security and public safety plan” for the Black Nazarene procession.
He said he has instructed the NCRPO chief, Director Alan Purisima, to field all available mobile and foot patrol units around Quiapo and along the procession route.
No details were given about the terror plot announced by the President in a news conference in Malacañang on Sunday afternoon.
Bartolome joined the President in Quiapo on Sunday to assess final security preparations for the procession, which has been expected to draw some nine million devotees.
They were also joined by officials of the NCRPO, Manila Police District, the Manila city government and the Metro Manila Development Authority.
The PNP said it has requested the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine Coast Guard to augment the police K-9 units “for security screening and threat detection measures.”
The MPD director, Senior Superintendent Alex Gutierrez, said unruly persons and those found under the influence of drugs and alcohol would be immediately evicted from the procession.
The MPD has also prohibited the use of any firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices.
Bartolome urged devotees not to bring children and the elderly to spare them from the hazards of a big crowd.