Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO) said some senior citizen devotees concealed their real age to attend the Feast of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo Church on Saturday, January 9.
“Ang mga kapulisan po natin medyo nahihirapan nga po silang awatin ang ating senior citizens. ‘Pag tinanong po sila ay mababa sa 65 ang sinasabi nilang edad nila pero sa tingin naman po ng ating mga kapulisan ay mahigit 65 na po,” MDRRMO Director Arnel Angeles said in a Super Radyo DZBB interview.
Authorities also reported some senior citizens failed to show their IDs for verification.
“Pero inaawat na po sila, ini-interview po at ini-interrogate nang mabuti ng ating mga kapulisan, lalo na ang mga bata at sila po ay hindi na pinapapasok,” Angeles said.
Manila Police deployed around 8,000 officers while 2,000 came from the National Capital Region (NCR) for the Feast of the Black Nazarene.
Authorities also put markers around the Quiapo Church for social distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Social distancing violated during Feast of the Black Nazarene
However, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) acting director Brig. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr., said devotees still violated social distancing although the Feast of the Black Nazarene was generally peaceful.
“In terms of peace and order, wala naman kaming nare-receive na any grievous threat. Peaceful naman po at manageable,” Danao said.
“Hindi lang po maiwasan na ‘yung violation ng minimum health standards at protocol ay medyo nava-violate po kaya naman sa ibang mga areas talagang sobrang nagdikit-dikit na,” Danao said.
“Hindi maiwasan dahil sa excitement… hindi maiwasan na merong nakakapag-violate,” Danao said.
Meanwhile, MPD Director Police Brigadier General Leo Franciso reported that the number of devotees in the two main streets leading to the Quiapo Church were almost 400,000.
“[O]n Quezon Boulevard alone mahigit 300,000. Sa Palanca naman mahigit na 100,000 na,” Francisco said.
“Ang crowd ay sumusunod naman,” he added.
“Kaya sabi ko sa control point higpitan na ang pagpasok ng tao. Pakiusapan sila na ‘wag ng pumasok sa area na ‘to [kasi] mahirap na maintain ang physical distancing,” Francisco said.
“Pero ang physical distancing [on] Quezon Boulevard at Palanca [Street] ay nasusunod sa ngayon,” he added.