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Police Force Beefed Up for Peñafrancia Tercentenary

Source: Sonny Sales – Vox Bikol

NAGA CITY (4 Sept)-MORE THAN 400 policemen who are mostly rookies and have newly graduated from the Public Safety Basic Recruitment Training at Camp Simeon Ola in Legazpi City will augment the current Naga Police force of some 200-man strong for the 20-day Tercentenary celebration of the Peñafrancia devotion this year.

Spokesman of the Camarines Sur Police Office, SPO4 Romulo Pabiano, said that with the scheduled big religious rites of the “Peñafrancia Tercentenary,” Catholic bishops, clerics from all over the country, and Pope’s emissaries from the Vatican are expected to come to this year’s Peñafrancia festivities.

Pabiano said that Camarine Sur Police Director Sr. Supt. Jonathan Ablang has directed a separate force of a 42-man police team from the Provincial Police Office (PPO) to secure visiting Church dignitaries and ranking government officials.

Reportedly, the PPO has been advised that Vice-President Jejomar Binay will visit Naga City to attend the more significant Peñafrancia activities next week.

The spokesman also added that the PPO is fielding motor-assistance centers with Safety Management Units from Del Gallego to Bato, Camarines Sur, and also in the boundary of Sangay, Camarines Sur and Tiwi, Albay.

At the Naga Police Office, newly installed police director Sr. Supt. Vert Chavez confirmed the arrival of an initial 200-man force in Naga City which was now fielded in major commercial districts of the city.

Chavez said with the deployment of the total 600 policemen, the cops will have two shifts in their duties.

He added that after the Traslacion, a new traffic scheme for the Peñafrancia week will also be implemented by the PNP and the City’s Public Safety Office.

During a command conference with the Naga police, Chavez declared that “securing the 300th year Peñafrancia celebration will be a big challenge for the Naga PNP” with the local population and visiting devotees expected to swell by more than two million during the Peñafrancia week.

Chavez also said that the Naga PNP Intelligence with the help of force multipliers in the barangays has been alerted of organized crime groups coming into the city, with recent apprehensions of pick-pocket and snatcher gangs from Albay and Metro Manila.

Meanwhile, the police augmentation force are also to secure major venues of the Tercentenary rites such as the Naga Cathedral grounds, the Archbishop’s Palace, the Peñafrancia Basilica and Shrine, as well as the posh hotels and lodging-inns were visitors will be billeted.

PPO spokesman SPO4 Pabiano also noted that augmentation units have been provided with their police subsistence allowance pay of P 2,700 for meals during the Peñafrancia duties; nonetheless, Naga Mayor John Bongat is reportedly expected to assure the City’s contribution for the huge meal requirements of the gigantic police force.

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