NAGA CITY --- As early as 10:00 o’clock in the morning tomorrow (September 13) or two hours before the Traslacion (foot procession), the public will be seeing more than a thousand policemen making the rounds along General Luna Street and Peñafrancia Avenue, here.
This, as the Multi-Agency Coordination Group’s safety and security cluster is set to deploy 1,877 policemen who are tasked to secure the area from any disturbance while the religious event is going on.
Included in the areas where the authorities will be made more visible before and during the procession are the side streets leading to the two main thoroughfares.
Other roads that will be closed effective 11:00 o’clock in the morning tomorrow for the Traslacion:
San Felipe corner Matiway, Magsaysay corner Balatas, MT Villanueva (Liboton) corner Acacia; Dayangdang corner Colgante; Penafrancia corner Panganiban, P. Burgos corner General Luna, P. Diaz corner Barlin, Dimasalang corner Barlin, Sta. Cruz corner Barlin, Jacob corner Elias Angeles streets, Bagumbayan Sur corner Ateneo Avenue, and Mt. Villanueva corner Jacob street.
Apart from the police augmentation force, the Philippine Army in Bicol, as announced during a press briefing on Monday, will also be sending 800 soldiers to the city while the Bureau of Fire Protection committed an additional 60 personnel aside from the Special Rescue Unit from the BFP Regional Headquarters.
The cluster is composed of uniformed personnel from the Philippine National Police, the Philippine Army, Bureau of Fire Protection, the Philippine Air Force, and a group of volunteers. Its mandate is to preserve the peace and order situation while the civic and religious events that form part the city’s month-long Peñafrancia fiesta celebration are being conducted.
Other than uniformed personnel and plainclothes men, the cluster, which is being headed by Police Colonel Felix Servita Jr., NCPO city director, will also deploy cops who will be joining the voyadores in the procession. It will also assign policemen and Army soldiers belonging to K-9 unit and explosive ordnance disposal team in the area.
K-9s are canines specifically trained to assist police and other law-enforcement personnel. Their task include: searching for drugs and explosives, locating missing people, finding crime scene evidence, and attacking people targeted by the police.
The public is prohibited from carrying back packs or bags. Servita said all bags will be subjected to inspection, and will be confiscated if found out to be containing illegal drugs, firearms or any other object that can be used in such a way that it could cause death or injury to others. An appropriate case may also be filed against the violator if evidence warrants. The police recommend instead the use of transparent or see-through bags or packs.
The cluster will also spearhead in the implementation of the liquor ban, and the no wearing of caps or headgears during the procession.
At exactly 12:00 noon of Friday, all churches in the city under the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Caceres will simultaneously ring their bells for several minutes to signal the start of the procession and the novenario to Nuestra Senora de Peñafrancia and Divino Rostro (Holy Face of Jesus).
The images of the miraculous Lady and the Divino Rostro will be out in the street after the 2:00 p.m. pontifical mass to be celebrated by Archbishop Gilbert Garcera at the Plaza de Covarrubias in old Peñafrancia shrine.
The procession will wind up at the Naga Metropolitan Cathedral’s Quadricentennial Arch where another pontifical mass will be conducted at 5:30 in the afternoon with Caceres Archbishop Rolando J. Tria Tirona as main celebrant.
THE K-9, policemen, and Army troopers are among those who compose the safety and security cluster of the Multi-Agency Coordination Group (MAC-G) which is, along with other clusters, tasked to keep the peace and order situation while the entire city is celebrating a month-long festivity, which is now on its 309th year, in honor of the Bicolandia’s patroness, Nuestra Sra. de Peñafrancia. JBN/CEPPIO file photo