MANILA, Philippines — The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) has ordered the suspension of permits to carry firearms outside of residence (PTCFOR) in the city of Manila for three days in line with the celebration of the Feast of the Black Nazarene.
Philippine National Police (PNP) officer-in-charge Police Lieutenant General Archie Francisco Gamboa said the suspension of the PTCFOR will be from 8 a.m. of January 7 to 8 a.m. of January 10.
Gamboa said this will cover the areas of Quiapo, Sta. Cruz and Binondo.
NCRPO chief Police Brigadier General Debold Sinas also said the suspension is “part of the security preparations to ensure that the Feast of the Black Nazarene will be free from firearm-related incidents.”
Sinas said the suspension was a directive given by Gamboa, in consonance with the concept of Enhanced Managing Police Operations in close coordination with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), other law enforcement counterparts and local government units.
“Only members of the PNP, AFP and other law enforcement agencies who are performing official duties and in agency-prescribed uniforms shall be allowed to carry firearms,” Sinas said.
“I have absolute faith that this will affect the maintenance of peace and order situation in the concerned areas,” he added.
Sinas also said no threat has been received by the NCRPO linked to the feast.
Meanwhile, more than 10,000 devotees marched with Black Nazarene replicas in Quiapo last Tuesday night.
Thousands of devotees on Tuesday joined the blessing and procession of Black Nazarene replicas starting from Plaza Miranda in Quiapo.
The procession started at 2:00 p.m. Tuesday. The last replica at the tail of the procession finally left Plaza Miranda after three hours at around 5:00 p.m on Tuesday.
The MPD added that around 1,200 replicas have been exhibited in the procession, quoting the Quiapo Church.
To give way to the procession, the southbound lane of Quezon Boulevard in Quiapo, starting from A. Mendoza/Fugoso to Plaza Miranda, and the westbound lane of España Boulevard, from P. Campa to Lerma Street, is closed to traffic.
Over 6 million devotees are expected to participate in this year’s procession of the Black Nazarene from the Quirino Grandstand back to its home in Quiapo Church, according to Quiapo Church social communications coordinator Jonnaus Bautista.
Bautista also said that the procession may conclude faster than last year’s event due to the new and shorter route.
Under the new route in this year’s Traslacion, the image of the Black Nazarene will pass through the Ayala Bridge instead of Jones Bridge.
Bautista said the procession may only take from 15 to 16 hours, compared to last year that took almost 23 hours.
Likewise, he said that Church officials are ready in the case that devotees would try to divert the route of the procession to Jones Bridge.
More than 13,000 police personnel will be deployed around the nation’s capital to ensure the safety and security of millions of devotees, said Police Lieutenant Colonel Reynaldo Magdaluyo, commander of Manila Police District Station 3.
Magdaluyo also assured the public that the “zero-vendor policy” ordered by Manila City Mayor Isko Moreno will be strictly implemented on the entire route of the Traslacion.
“Walang kahit isa na maaaring magtinda sa daraanan ng prusisyon, dadamputin sila ng pulis,” Magdaluyo said.
Classes in all levels, both private and public, and local government workers have already been suspended in observance of the Traslacion. (Stacy Ang/JGo/CurrentPH)