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Manaoag Church under tight watch amid terror threats

 

MANAOAG CHURCH. (Photo by Rizaldy Comanda)

MANAOAG CHURCH. (Photo by Rizaldy Comanda)

By CHRISTINA I. HERMOSO

 

The Minor Basilica of the Most Holy Rosary, more popularly known as the Manaoag Church in Pangasinan, has been placed under tight watch to ensure the safety of pilgrims and churchgoers amid terror threats.

Rev. Fr. Anthony Eudela, prior of the popular pilgrimage site, said they are taking the report “very seriously” and have met with police authorities to ensure the safety of pilgrims and tourists to the Marian shrine.

“We took that information very seriously. We have to heighten the security measures we have. After we received the information, we met immediately with the local government unit, the Philippine National Police regional command, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines to secure the church and its perimeters,” Eudela said in a radio interview.

“We joined forces and came up with plans to tighten our security not only in the basilica but in the whole town of Manaoag,” Eudela added.

The priest said police forces have been deployed in the area since the Jolo Cathedral bombing in January. “Holy Masses are held as scheduled . The atmosphere at the church is calm, and there is no cause for alarm yet,” Eudela said.

The government had ordered a tight watch on the church after a Northern Luzon Command memo showed a “possible terror attack” in several areas. Nolcom identified Laoag City in Ilocos Norte, Vigan City in Ilocos Sur, Tuguegarao City in Cagayan, and Manaoag Church in Pangasinan as possible targets.

The alert came almost seven months since the Jolo Cathedral bombing on Jan. 27 that killed 22 people and wounded more than a hundred.

 

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