MANILA — The Philippine National Police (PNP) said Wednesday it would continue to remain vigilant throughout the holiday season following the “peaceful” start of Simbang Gabi or the traditional 9-day series of Masses celebrated in Catholic churches in anticipation of Christmas.
“PNP Unit commanders were instructed to maintain vigilance and readiness to respond to situations throughout the holiday season,” said PNP chief Gen. Debold Sinas in a statement.
Sinas made the remark as he said the first night of Simbang Gabi was “generally peaceful” and “orderly,” based on field reports from cops in key cities across the country.
Church officials and local government units “effectively” enforced health protocols, such as physical distancing and the 30-percent capacity inside churches during the conduct of the masses, Sinas said.
“Everything went well on Day 1. We expect it to be better on Day 2, and perhaps even perfectly best in the rest of the nine days until Christmas and through the New Year,” he said.
Filipinos trooped to their local churches early Wednesday for Simbang Gabi, wearing face masks and shields as measures against the spread of COVID-19.
Several churches in the capital, such as the Manila Cathedral and Quezon City’s Santo Domingo Church, put up LED screens in their patios for worshippers who could not go inside.