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Close to 2,000 cops to secure Peñafrancia fiesta

LEGAZPI CITY ---Close to 2,000 policemen would be dispatched to Naga City to provide security during the annual observance of the Feast of Our Lady of Peñafrancia on Sept. 10 to Sept. 22, this year, an official of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Bicol said on Tuesday.

The send-off ceremony and pre-deployment orientation for the augmentation personnel were held on Tuesday at Camp Simeon Ola parade ground here, Major Maria Luisa Calubaquib, PNP Bicol spokesperson, said.

She explained the deployment would augment the existing police force in Camarines Sur specifically in Naga City which is the annual host of the biggest religious event in Bicol.

Calubaquib said the augmentation police personnel would come from the provinces of Albay, Sorsogon, the Regional Mobile Force Battalion, and other police units in Bicol.

Calubaquib in a phone interview said “the security measure is to ensure the safety of millions of local devotees as well as other visitors that are expected to be in Naga City for the religious feast.”

The augmentation force were tasked to enforce orderliness, traffic management and security measures in critical infrastructures such as churches, malls, transport terminals, including communication and power lines in remote areas.

Calubaquib said on the request of the City government of Naga, the police will impose a 10-day total gun ban within the city.

She said the security scenario would discourage lawless elements to take advantage of the situation where hundreds of thousands of people converge in this city.

Under the gun ban, only members of the PNP, AFP and other law enforcement agencies that are on duty and are wearing the agency prescribed uniforms would be allowed to carry firearms.

The Peñafrancia festivities begin with a nine-day novenario to the Divino Rostro or “the Divine/Holy Face” and to Our Lady of Peñafrancia. This is preceded by the transfer of the two images in a Traslacion, or foot procession from her shrine in Peñafrancia to the Naga Metropolitan Cathedral in downtown Naga on the second Friday of every month of September.

On Saturday of the following week which is the last day of the novenario, the two images are against brought back home to the Peñafrancia Basilica Minore through a colorful fluvial procession along the Naga River.

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