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Palace appeals to devotees: Look for one another

Malacañang called on Black Nazarene devotees yesterday to be careful and remain calm and sober as they join the annual “Translacion” procession of the Black Nazarene tomorrow.

“Let us just be careful and let us still remain calm and sober,” presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in an interview over government-run radio station DZRB. “And let us again po look out for one another.”

“On the other hand,” he added, “let us continue to enjoy the benefits of a folk spirituality.”

The Philippine National Police said it will maximize the deployment of policemen to augment Manila Police District personnel for the Translacion.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Ismael Sueno said that security forces have been placed on full alert to quell threats from the Maute and Abu Sayyaf Groups who are now reportedly in Metro Manila.

Sueno had warned of possible retaliatory attacks following the killing of Mohammad Jaafar Maguid, the leader of the Ansar Al-Khalifah Philippines in Sarangani.

Abella had also confirmed that the intelligence community has warned of “possible disturbances” during the Feast of the Black Nazarene.

Despite these threats, the celebration of the Feast of the Black Nazarene will push through on January 9, with government officials assuring that police and military forces have been mobilized to ensure the safety of the devotees.

Millions of devotees converge in Manila for the Feast of the Black Nazarene and join an hours-long procession. The event, one of the country’s biggest religious activities, is usually marred by injuries and even deaths.
(Elena L. Aben)