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CCPO starts security preparations for Misa de Gallo 

By: Emmariel Ares - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | December 09,2023 - 04:59 PM

File photo: The Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral is filled with churchgoers on the first day of the Misa de Gallo in 2020.

File photo: The Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral is filled with churchgoers on the first day of the Misa de Gallo in 2020. | CDN Digital photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines – A week before the official start of the Misa de Gallo, police in Cebu City said they will beef up their security coverage of all the churches and religious sites here to ensure the safety of all churchgoers and pilgrims.

Police Lieutenant Colonel Janette Rafter, the deputy director for Operations of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO), said this was also in compliance with the instruction given by Police Brigadier General Anthony Aberin, director of the Police Regional Office Central Visayas (PRO-7).

As security preparation for the holiday season and Sinulog 2024, Aberin lead an inspection of the Basilica Minor del Santo Niño and the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral last December 6.

“Ang iyang instruction is for our city director, Police Colonel Ireneo Dalogdog, to visit also mga places of worship. Not just Catholic churches but all other places of worship for that matter… Definitely there will be a beefing up of security sa atong mga places of worship,” Rafter said.

Rafter said they started their security preparations with an inventory of the different churches and places of worship here, especially those that are expected to accommodate devotees during the Misa de Gallo that is set to start on December 16.

Dalogdog, Rafter said, has advised the different police stations to coordinate with the administrators of the churches and religious sites that are located within their area of responsibility to especially determine the schedule of the dawn Masses.

Security assistance

They will also be talking to the church administrators to determine the kind of security assistance that they will need.

In addition, police assistance desks, that will be manned by at least two uniformed personnel, will be placed in each of the venues.

Moreover, PRO-7 will be augmenting CCPO’s current manpower.  The regional office is sending 60 personnel from the Regional Mobile Force Battalion in Central Visayas (RMFB-7).

RMFB personnel will be deployed to help secure churches and the venue of nighttime activities for the holiday season.

Alert Status

All of these security measures will be in place as the police continue with their alert status following the deadly bombing at the gymnasium of the Mindanao State University in Marawi City last December 3.

The attack happened while a huge crowd attended a morning Mass on the First Sunday of Advert, an occasion for Christians to prepare for the birth of Jesus.

Following the Marawi City bombing, tighter security measures were also implemented, especially in religious sites in Cebu and the rest of the Central Visayas in anticipation of the possibility of the terror threat escalating in the region. 

Rafter said they are currently waiting for the assessment report by their intelligence unit to determine if there was a need to adopt additional security measures like imposing a prohibition against the bringing of big bags inside churches and other religious sites.

Security plan

For his part, Police Lieutenant Colonel Gerard Ace Pelare, the PRO-7 spokesperson, said that their security plan for Misa de Gallo is now ready.

“We have already our security plan. Pero ang gusto sa atong regional director is macheck gyud kung appropriate ba ang plano sa mga activities nga pagahimuon. He wants to see it to himself nga everything will be in order,” he said.

Pelare said that Aberin intends to personally inspect more churches and religious sites in the coming days to see if their security plans are applicable to these areas.

‘RED teams’

Moreover, they will also deploy ‘red teams’ tasked to provide intelligence monitoring.

“Ang buhaton sa Police Regional Office 7, magpakatap mi og mga RED teams. Ang buot pasabot kining mga inspection teams, validation teams to make sure nga katong naplano mao bay nahitabo. Then, also one of the functions of the RED teams is to give recommendations for security adjustments,” Pelare said.

Recalling their experience in the past years, Pelare said that the conduct of Misa de Gallo in Cebu and the rest of the region had been peaceful and orderly.

However, he said that they do not want to be complacent.


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TAGS: CCPO, Misa de Gallo, Police Regional Office (PRO-7), security measures

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