MANILA - Amid alleged terror threats targeting the Black Nazarene feast, Philippine National Police Chief, Director General Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa allayed fears, telling devotees that "God is with us."
"To the millions of Black Nazarene devotees, don’t be afraid. God is with us," Dela Rosa said in a press briefing at Camp Crame Friday.
This comes after Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno said members of the terrorist Maute group may be in Metro Manila and could be planning to target the annual Black Nazarene procession which is expected to draw millions of Filipino Catholics.
Authorities are now gearing up to secure the event, considered as one of the biggest displays of faith in the mainly Catholic nation, as terror threats linger following a spate of bombings across the country.
"I am encouraging everyone while nakafocus tayo sa celebration, we also focus on the safety, security aspect of that festivity. Kailangan lahat tayo mag-cooperate para di tayo masingitan," Dela Rosa said.
The PNP chief added that adjustments have been made, with police forces from regions 3 and 4 augmenting security for the Black Nazarene procession.
Around 16 to 18 million Filipino Catholic devotees are expected to flock to Quiapo on Monday, January 9 to join the annual feast of the Black Nazarene.