THE Cagayan de Oro City Police Office (Cocpo) has already planned security preparations for the feast of Black Nazarene, which is on its second year Saturday.

Police Superintendent Emmanuel Hebron, deputy director of operations of Cocpo, said they are deploying policemen and mobile patrols during the Black Nazarene masses this week, and during the procession of the image of the Black Nazarene on that day.

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So far, Supt. Hebron could not say how many policemen would be involved in maintaining peace during the festivity, which is expected to draw thousands of devotees comparable to that of the riotous Black Nazarene festival of Quiapo. A replica of the one in Quiapo, the Black Nazarene image at the Nazareno Church is the only one in Mindanao.

The police official said Cocpo has already requested bomb experts and bomb-sniffing dogs as part of the safety measures during the feast.

The Army’s Fourth Infantry Division is also expected to deploy tight security as they did last year.

Earlier, Monsigñor Rey Manuel Monsanto, parish priest of Nazareno Church, said that the devotees of the Black Nazarene will be more than double this year during the feast. An estimated 10,000 devotees joined the procession last year.

“Na-aware naman gud ang uban sa taga-Mindanao nga naa na ang replica sa Black Nazarene dinhi,” said the priest.

The 250-kilo religious icon, a replica of the Black Nazarene of Quiapo, was given by the Quiapo church to permanently enshrine the statue for Mindanao.

Starting on January 6, the replica will be delivered to three parishes for the overnight mass in Nazareth Church on that day, in Dansolihon Church on the following day and to Cathedral Church on January 8 as the final stop for the feast in the succeeding day.

Five succeeding masses shall also take place on January 9 starting at 4 a.m. to 12 noon before the celebrated mass on 3 p.m. Right after that, the procession will take place at 4 p.m.

However, Msgr. Monsanto proposed a new route this year which shall be finalized by the city’s Roads and Traffic Administration (RTA) sometime today.

“Amo pa gitun-an ang proposed route sa procession. Mohatag ra mi og final approval,” said Engr. Nonito Oclarit, RTA administrator.

The proposed route shall passed from St. Augustine Cathedral going to R.N. Abejuela St, Corrales Avenue, C.M. Recto Avenue, Julio Pacana St., Gaabucayan St., Agora and to Nazareno Church.

Last year, the route went all the way in Velez St., C.M. Recto and to Nazareno.

Meanwhile, eight barangay councils under the parish namely Barangays 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27 and Lapasan had all agreed to request their constituents who will not be joining the devotion to light candles instead in their respective barangays as procession passes by. (Jaime Frias)