Manila beefs up security for nine-day dawn masses

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Saturday, December 14, 2013

MANILA police beefed up security near churches ahead of the country's observance of the nine-day dawn masses or "Misa de Gallo," which officially starts Monday, December 16.

Manila Police District (MPD) director Chief Superintendent Isagani Genabe Jr. said additional plainclothes policemen will be deployed at checkpoints as they expect thousands of people to troop to various churches between December 16 and 24 and Christmas Day (December 25).

Augmentation forces coming from the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) will help MPD personnel maintain peace and order in public places where criminalities and gang-related riots take place.

Ambulances and police vehicles will also be placed on standby to respond to emergency situations, especially near popular churches like in the Basilica of the Black Nazarene and San Sebastian Church in Quiapo; San Agustin Church in Intramuros; Santissimo Rosario Parish (UST Chapel) in Sampaloc; and the Our Lady of Remedy Church in Malate.

Genabe has also advised churchgoers not to bring valuables, such as jewellery and electronic gadgets, when they attend dawn masses.

"Please 'wag na kayo magdala ng mga valuables. Magiging takaw tukso lang yan sa mga kawatan na magsasamantala sa kasagsagan ng Simbang Gabi," he said.

"Misa de Gallo" is a Catholic Church tradition dating way back during the Spanish Colonial era with nine-day series of Masses in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary in anticipation of Christmas.

Meanwhile, Manila Archibishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle issued a circular, which discourages the holding of the traditional masses inside shopping malls and outside the church premises.

"We wish to encourage the practice of Simbang Gabi, whether at dawn or in the evening, because it is a source of spiritual nourishment for our faithful," Tagle said.

The Archbishop of Manila explained that masses should not be held in shopping centers if they do not have chapels.

"We do not allow Simbang Gabi to be celebrated in hallways or corridors of shopping malls where the celebration of the Holy Eucharist is exposed to shoppers," Tagle said. (Sunnex)

Local news

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