'So far, so good': 'Bato' inspects ongoing Black Nazarene procession

Bianca Dava, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 09 2018 07:42 PM | Updated as of Jan 09 2018 11:00 PM

MANILA - Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa went around the streets of Manila Tuesday afternoon to check on the situation at the ongoing Traslacion of the Black Nazarene.

The "andas" or carriage of the Black Nazarene surrounded by throngs of people was already along Quezon Boulevard when Dela Rosa arrived.

Dela Rosa was greeted by devotees and, following tradition, also waved his white towel as replicas of the Black Nazarene made its way through the crowd.

"I am from the province. Eh itong tradition na ito parang dito talaga sa Quiapo. Naisip ko chance ko na rin ito bilang isang devout Catholic. It was indeed a very, very unusual experience for me," the PNP chief, a Davao native, told reporters.

Dela Rosa then headed to Plaza Miranda to check how policemen were doing securing the area of the Quiapo Church, where the procession would conclude.

The PNP chief maintained that there is no direct threat targeting the Black Nazarene procession as devotees continued to flock Manila.

As of 4 p.m., the Manila Police District estimated the crowd at the procession crowd to be at around 2.6 million.

Dela Rosa described his security assessment as "so far, so good" and maintained that police are maintaining tight security arrangements.

"So far, wala akong narinig sa supervisors and red teams (field inspection teams) na dissatisfied sila sa performance ng mga pulis. So far, so good," he said.

For the Traslacion this year, the PNP opted to cut cellphone signals so that radio signals of the police would not be affected.

"So far, walang threat, pero itong sa mobile phone signals, just in case na may lone wolf threats lang na ma-monitor, maniguro na lang tayo," he said.

Dela Rosa added: "Sa mga na-inconvenience nito, pasensya na, pero if you think about it sa bigger scale, para rin ito sa security."

Aside from the cops' performance, the PNP chief also attributed this year's faster and smoother procession to the cooperation of the devotees.

"May mga revisions tayong ginawa this year, especially sa ruta ng replicas, that led to a smoother procession. Isa lang 'yan sa mga dahilan kaya mabilis ngayon. More or less two hours ang binilis," Dela Rosa said.

As of 7:20 p.m., the carriage of the Black Nazarene was along Vergara Street on its way to Duque de Alba Street in Manila.