Checkpoints to be installed in Tondo, Pandacan during Feast of Sto. Niño — MPD

A police officer checks a bicycle rider’s quarantine pass at a checkpoint placed amid the reimposed strict lockdown to curb coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections, in Manila, Philippines, August 17, 2020. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez

Several checkpoints will be installed in Tondo and Pandancan in Manila during the Feast of Sto. Niño on  January 17 in order to control the crowd who will attend the festivities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Marami po tayong checkpoints para matiyak natin na hindi po dadagsa ang mga tao at para makita natin kung ang tao po na malapit sa simbahan ay sapat na ang espasyo. Pipigilan na po natin ang pagpasok sa area na ‘yun,” Manila Police District (MPD) Police Brigadier General Leo Francisco said in an interview.

Francisco said additional personnel from the National Capital Region Police Office would also be deployed to help the MPD in securing the feast day. Curfew hours in the city and liquor ban would also be implemented.

“May panawagan po ang ating butihing mayor at kami rin po sa Manila Police District na kung puwede lang po, huwag na tayong magsiksikan sa pagsimba sa Sto. Niño. ‘Yung panawagan na ‘yun ay kagaya rin po sa piyesta ng Nazareno na sinunod po ng mga taga-Manila,” Francisco said.

Earlier, the Augustinian friars of the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño announced that novena masses will be done virtually starting Tuesday, January 12, which would be the fifth day of the nine-day novena leading to Fiesta Señor.

The masses will be available online via Facebook and YouTube pages of the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño.

“At present, it has been a tough challenge for the Basilica administrators with the government and private agencies to manage the flock of devotees and pilgrims at the Basilica in our simplified celebration of the novena and the upcoming feast,” said Fr. Rick Anthony Reyes reading the official statement of the Order of Saint Augustine.

“For four days we have observed that the surge of people coming to venerate and celebrate the Novena Masses has brought us into a conclusion that a greater action should be done to prevent us from the virus (infection).”

Lighting of candles which often gets crowded will also be not allowed inside the Basilica.

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