Palace: No terror threat in Nazarene feast

By Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 08 2014 02:57 PM | Updated as of Jan 08 2014 11:10 PM

MANILA - Malacañang on Wednesday said there is no terror threat in the staging of this year’s feast of the Black Nazarene.

But presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda nonetheless assured devotees of police visibility.

He said there would be no need to shut off cellphone signals in the vicinity of the procession, an action authorities took in view of a terror threat last year.

"Wala namang ganoong klaseng banta. Nonetheless… since it involves a huge mass of people, we have to be there. PNP and MMDA are all there to maintain peace and order," Lacierda said.

In 2012, Malacañang asked telecommunications companies to jam cellphone signals in areas affected by the Black Nazarene procession as a deterrent against possible bomb attacks. The Palace said the sheer volume of devotees during the religious procession is a magnet for untoward incidents.

Police estimated up to 8 million people crammed into the historic quarters of Manila seeking to touch the "Black Nazarene," a centuries-old, life-size icon of Jesus Christ that is believed to hold miraculous powers.