Police to deploy drones, snipers for Nazareno 2018

MANILA, Philippines – To ensure the safety of devotees during Traslacion 2018, the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) will deploy drones and snipers to monitor the procession during the Feast of the Black Nazarene on Tuesday, January 9.

"This year, we will be deploying drones in all high-rise buildings and in all the segments of the procession," NCRPO chief Director Oscar Albayalde said in a press conference on Friday, January 5.

Albayalde said the surveillance gadgets will be complemented by snipers pulled in from the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNP SAF). (LOOK: Procession route for Nazareno 2018)

They are part of the 5,613 cops to be deployed on Tuesday to secure the almost 6-kilometer procession from the Quirino Grandstand to the Quiapo Church.

"They will act as observers. They have telescopes, the team from the SAF. They are complete. They are experts from the SAF and will all be deployed to buildings where the image will pass by," Albayalde added.

The NCRPO chief said the SAF troopers will prevent security breaches and will provide immediate response in the event of a terror attack.

Albayalde assured the public that PNP intelligence officers have begun monitoring threats of any attack on the big day. The police have not detected any such threats so far.

"So far, we have not obtained any information, although we have said that we cannot relax. Our intelligence operatives are continuously monitoring threat groups even outside Metro Manila who can operate here while this Traslacion will be ongoing," Albayalde said.

Authorities projected that up to 8 million devotees will join the annual procession of the Black Nazarene, a 17th-century dark-skinned image of Jesus Christ that Filipinos believe to grant prayers when touched. – Rappler.com

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.