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Don’t be cowed by terror threat, devotees told

Police have raised the possibility of a terror attack during the Black Nazarene procession tomorrow, but Director General Ronald M. dela Rosa is confident that it won’t succeed.

“To the millions of Black Nazarene devotees, don’t be afraid. God is with us. Hindi tayo pababayaan,” said the chief of the Philippine National Police.

Some 2,000 policemen will be deployed by the National Capital Region Police Office. Several teams from Central Luzon and Calabarzon will also be tapped to secure the Traslacion.

The annual event draws millions of devotees each year, posing a security nightmare.

Dela Rosa said the threat of a terror strike is serious.

“There’s possible retaliation coming from the ISIS-inspired terror groups in Mindanao especially from the AKP wherein the leader was killed,” said Dela Rosa.

The PNP chief was referring to AKP leader Mohammad Jaafar Maguid who was killed in a police operation last Thursday in Sarangani. Maguid’s group claims link with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

But he was quick to say that devotees have nothing to be afraid of.

“We have our actions taken but we cannot really divulge it to the public lahat ng aming plano otherwise magiging ineffective lahat yan kapag alam ng lahat,” said Dela Rosa.

All the improvised bombs used in the past were cellphone-detonated and part of the security measures is to set up signal jammers.

Dela Rosa, however, said the biggest protection will come from God as he stressed that devotees should not be afraid of the threats from various groups as long as they cooperate with the authorities.

“Basta tayong lahat naman ay magmamatyag, magmamasid, vigilant. I am encouraging everyone while naka-focus tayo sa celebration we also focus on the safety and security aspect of that festivity,” he said.

“Kailangan natin magbantay, lahat tayo mag-cooperate para hindi tayo masingitan. Yan po ang hinihiling ko sa lahat ng mga devotees ng Black Nazarene.” (AARON RECUENCO)