The combined efforts of local and national authorities will be in place before, during, and after the conduct of the Traslacion 2017, the annual procession of the Black Nazarene on January 9.

According to Police S/Supt. Joel Napoleon Coronel, head of the Manila Police District (MPD), close to 6,000 personnel from the Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and other government agencies will be deployed to ensure the safety of the people and to maintain peace and order during the activities that will be held at the Quirino Grandstand and the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene prior and during the grand procession on Monday.

“As ground commander who will oversee all peace and order, security starting from Quirino Grandstand to Quiapo church. We will be deploying 1/3 of MPD troops to secure first Friday masses, processions of replicas of Nazarene, on Saturday from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m., and the Pahalik which will begin on Sunday at Luneta, before image of Black Nazarene arrives there,” he said in a press conference on Thursday.

With this, the MPD head said that starting Thursday, they will be conducting anti-criminality, in some areas included in the procession route particularly those who are drinking on the streets.

“Starting today we will also conduct reinvoragated anti criminality in Intramuros, Ermita, Binondo – aggresive police ops on drinking, drunken disorderly behavior – along the routes of Black Nazarene procession. Hindi namin papayagan na may lasing na manggugulo. We will start our operations starting tonight,” Coronel said.

He added, “We will be working closely with other units of MPD, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) during the pahalik up to the time the image returns to Quiapo, MPD is on full alert.”

At the same time, Coronel said that they are 99.9 percent ready for the event.

“(We are) 99.9 percent ready, .01 binibigay ko sa Diyos siya sasagot dun. We are very thankful to logistical suppot provided to us. We are ready to perform our task as directed,” he added.

The police official said that check points will be implemented in the city.

“Check points will be city wide, not just sa ruta ng procession,” he added.

At the same time, Coronel is hoping to beat the record last year when the Black Nazarene entered the basilica, which signifies the end of the procession, 20 hours after it left Quirino Grandstand.

“Last year, 20 hours, hopefully we will beat the record. Ang pinakamatagal ay pagbaba ng Jones bridge kasi makitid na ‘yung mga daanan doon,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dir. Police Chief Supt. Oscar Albayalde, NCRPO chief has recommended the suspension of permit to carry firearms for two days starting Sunday in the City of Manila.

“We recommended to Chief PNP to suspend all permit to carry firecarms temporarily from 8 a.m., Jan. 8 to 8 a.m., January 10 in Manila area only. We believe the Chief PNP will approve this, 48 hours yan, 2 days. We believe he will approve that,” he added.

Albayalde reiterated that they have not received any threat, noting that the threat is always there, that is why they remain on alert.

“We are not saying there is no threat. There is no information, but the threat is there. The threat is always there. Remember there were icidents of attempted bombing so hindi pwede pa walang bahala. So there is this threat. There is always that possibility. But it is not clear, present or imminent. So we could not take this for granted the security,” he explained.

“We have maintained our high security threat level dito sa Metro Manila because of the ongoing offensive of AFP in parts of Mindanao just to avoid any spill over or retaliratory acts. We maintained our high security threat level so that we could also maintain our full alert status, target hardening measures in all places of converggences and other vital installations,” the NCRPO chief added.

On the other hand, Msgr. Hernando Coronel, rector of Quiapo Church expressed gratitude to the City of Manila for its never ending support to the celebration of the annual feast.

“Malaking tulong ang Lungsod ng Maynila para sa ating taunang selebrasyon ng ating Mahal na Poong Nazareno,” he said.

The Quiapo Church official added that he together with other members of the clergy and the lay people are praying for the peaceful and orderly holding of the Traslacion 2017.

Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada is the Hermano Mayor of this year’s celebration. He ordered the suspension of all classes in all levels in Manila in the local government except in offices involved in the peace order, traffic enforcement, disaster risk reduction, and facilitation and issuance of business permit among others.

Likewise, Coronel thanked the other government agencies that assisted in the preparations for the activities.

“Nagpapasalamat din tayo…bagama’t partnership din namin madami din tumutulong na mga ahensiya ng gobyerno,” he added.(PNA) BNB/FGP/EDS