NDRRMC to Black Nazarene devotees: Be vigilant
MANILA, Philippines – The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) is helping with the preparations for the observance of the annual Feast of the Black Nazarene on Monday, January 9, in Manila.
According to NDRRMC Executive Director Ricardo Jalad, the council's response group extended assistance "to ensure the safety and well-being of the devotees as they engage in the traditional activities of the observance."
The NDRRMC's efforts complement the preparations done by the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene (Quiapo Church), the Manila City government through its Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO), and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) through the Metro Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (MMDRRMC).
A national standby-alert reserve force for "consequence management operations" was organized to attend to possible injuries or other hazards that may occur from January 8 to 10.
The standby-alert force is composed of the following NDRRMC member-agencies:
- Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and its National Capital Region Office (OCD NCR)
- Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)
- Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG)
- Philippine National Police (PNP)
- Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)
- Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)
- Department of Health (DOH)
- Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP)
- Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)
- Philippine Red Cross (PRC)
Volunteer groups such as STOUT Philippines, Zion Emergency and Disaster Rescue Unit, REACT Philippines, and the Emergency Response Integration Center (ERIC) are also joining the standby-alert force.
What to do in case of emergency
The NDRRMC also urged the public to be vigilant as they observe the annual feast which is expected to draw up to 8 million devotees raring to touch or see a 17th-century mulatto image of Jesus Christ in a procession called the Traslacion.
"Maging mapagmatyag at magsabi agad sa mga kinauukulan kung may mapansin kayong kahina-hinala sa inyong paligid (Be vigilant and immediately report suspicious incidents that you observe)," said Lieutenant Colonel Gilbert Conde, commander of the NDRRMC's national incident management team.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) also said a terror threat during the Feast of the Black Nazarene "is always there" especially because there is a possible "spillover" of terrorist acts in Mindanao.
"'Pag may mga mangyari, sumunod lang sa mga inuutos ng mga nakatalaga doon sa lugar na iyon. Huwag mag-panic, kasi 'yun ang nakadagdag ng mga hindi magandang nagyayari sa atin during the activities," Conde said.
(If an untoward incident happens, follow the orders of authorities deployed to the area. Don't panic because it worsens the situation.)
According to the NDRRMC, response assets and personnel have been prepositioned to respond to any emergency that might occur particularly during the Traslacion.
The deployment includes an air ambulance, a search and rescue helicopter, two water search and rescue teams, two collapsed structure search and rescue teams, two urban search and rescue teams, 8 ambulances, 3 fire trucks with fire suppression teams, 40 motorcycle riders, and a communication van.
More than 5,700 law enforcers have been deployed to secure devotees. – Rappler.com