THE National Capital Region Police Office yesterday went on full alert to ensure a peaceful and orderly Traslacion even as Philippine National Police chief Director General Oscar D. Albayalde said they are looking into reports of plans to disrupt the event expected to be attended by around 21 million Black Nazarene devotees.
“We are not taking for granted all reports being sent to us. Our intelligence community is monitoring all threats,” the PNP chief said as he led the fine-tuning of all their preparations in coordination with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, Departments of Health and Public Works and Highway, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, Philippine Coast and the Manila city government.
NCRPO chief Director Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar confirmed that rumors of threats to the Traslacion have been circulating. “However, these either have no basis or are unreliable. There is no confirmed threat as of the moment in time for the annual feast,” he said.
The official said their coordination with various agencies and intelligence communities will continue until the termination of Traslacion 2019.
The PNP chief said their National Support Units including volunteers from Philippine Red Cross will provide operational support through deployment of emergency medical teams, mobile patrol, bay and river patrol and intelligence monitoring.
“As expected, the movement of a mammoth crowd of this magnitude will render all roads and peripheries along the 6.1 kilometer procession route around the Luneta and Quiapo areas virtually inaccessible. Therefore, we strongly advise those with no urgent business in these areas to postpone their trips for another day for their own convenience,” he said.
To achieve this goal of “zero casualty,” the PNP chief said they need the utmost” cooperation of everyone particularly the devotees. He said his men will evict unruly persons and those under the influence of drugs and alcohol in the area.
Elsewhere across the country where similar Feast of the Black Nazarene activities will be celebrated, Police Regional and Provincial Offices will also implement their respective security and public safety plans.
NCRPO chief Eleazar strongly advised the devotees not to bring items that can cause harm to others. He also appealed to the public to extend their patience during the event.
Eleazar said they have also coordinated with the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and Department of Information and Communications (DICT) to jam telecommunication signals along the routes and during the procession.
The NCRPO chief discouraged the devotees from bringing backpacks and valuable items including cell phones, jewelry and wristwatches and huge amount of cash; to refrain from wearing caps; from bringing colored beverages or drinks in non-transparent containers; and most importantly to strictly avoid bringing explosives or firecrackers, liquor and illegal drugs and other deadly weapons.
PRC also in full force.
THE Philippine Red Cross is ready to conduct full force operation tomorrow, mobilizing thousands of volunteers and its fleet of life-saving assets to provide first aid and health assistance to devotees who will participate in the Traslacion 2019.
PRC chairman Senator Richard Gordon said the organization’s volunteers are trained to respond to any emergency—treating wounds, major injuries, transporting patients, healthcare and providing psychosocial support.
Gordon said a total of 50 ambulances will be deployed during the duration of the procession, while three rescue boats, an amphibian, and rescue vehicles will be ready to address emergency cases.
PRC will set up 12 first aid and welfare stations at the Aquino monument, Round table (Manila City Hall), Liwasang Bonifacio, Plaza Mexico (Post Office), Lacson (Sta Cruz area), San Sebastian, Jones Bridge, and near Quiapo Church to cater to minor and major injuries, as well as help trace missing family members, provide referral service, counseling, and psychosocial support.
PRC will also deploy foot patrols who will closely monitor the crowd.
With Lee Ann Ducusin