‘Enhanced security approach’ cuts Black Nazarene’s procession time to less than 2 hours

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The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) on Tuesday said it succeeded in shortening the duration of the Black Nazarene thanksgiving procession on Monday evening following the implementation of a new security scheme.

“The NCRPO marked a safe and sound Black Nazarene thanksgiving procession which started at about 11:45 p.m. Monday (December 30) and ended at about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday (December 31), as ‘airtight security’ has been employed,” NCRPO acting chief Brig. Gen. Debold Sinas said in a statement.

Sinas said around 10,000 police officers of NCRPO together with Joint Task Force NCR, Bureau of Fire Protection, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Philippine Coast Guard, Task Force Quiapo and other force multipliers were fielded to maintain peace and order throughout the procession and secure places of convergence and vital installations nearby Quiapo Church, as well as the route of the procession.

He explained that the enhanced approach with the active participation of Quiapo Church headed by Monsignor Hernando Coronel, Hijos, and other Catholic ministries addressed the dilemma of overcrowding in the procession route which shortened the duration of the procession and the totality of the said religious activity from 10 hours and 22 minutes last December 2018 to 1 hour and 45 minutes this year with crowd estimate of 70,000 to 80,000.

Sinas said if the enhanced security approach for the thanksgiving procession will prove to be successful, the same will be implemented for the “Traslacion” or the transfer of the revered image of the Black Nazarene from Quirino Grandstand to Quiapo Church in Manila on January 9.

“Taking into account that the enhanced security approach for the thanksgiving procession has been effective, the same security blueprint might be implemented for the “Traslacion” of the Black Nazarene from Quirino Grandstand to Quiapo Church in Manila on January 9,” Sinas stressed.

Based on Sinas’ presentation, a patrol car will be leading the procession followed by Sinas and his district directors.

He said police officers will be around the Black Nazarene while devotees will be situated at the back of the procession.

Sinas said the priests also requested to join the procession with this kind of security plan.

Meanwhile, Coronel said the thanksgiving procession was solemn and orderly.

“This is the most solemn and orderly. Devotees are still lining up to be near the Nazareno in the patio area,” Hernando said in an interview.

“There are prayer stations along the way. Everyone had candles and praying the Rosary,” he added.

The Quiapo Church head said this year’s event tried to emulate religious occasions in other parts of the country.

“The Thanksgiving procession tried to emulate the Sto. Niño procession in Cebu and the Peñafrancia procession in Bicol,” he said.

As to implementing the security plan during the day of the feast, Coronel said he has yet to discuss it with the leaders of the Hijos. (with reports from Ferdinand Patinio/PNA)