Malacanang has confirmed intelligence reports of possible terrorist attacks during the feast of the Black Nazarene on Monday (January 9).
In a press conference at the Palace, President Benigno Aquino III said he has been meeting with the national security forces on this matter and have issued the necessary instructions to the Secretaries of National Defense, Interior and Local Government and Justice, as well as the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
“Over the past few months we have been apprised of intentions to create disruptions in the National Capital Region during the Feast of the Black Nazarene,” Aquino said.
“Previously, the difference between their intentions and capabilities has been quite pronounced. The possibility prompts us to warn you of the risk in attending the procession,” the President added.
“To those who will be attending you will note increased security preparations and measures. Your government wants to ensure to the fullest extent of its capabilities, your safety. We ask for your understanding and cooperation,” he said.
“I call on our fellow citizens to exercise the maximum vigilance and discipline leading up to, and during, the procession. Report any and all suspicious activity directly to the authorities, or call 117,” he added.
He appealed to the devotees not “to bring the following to the procession: cellphones, weapons, fireworks” as anyone caught doing so would be penalized.
“In any open democracy there will always be challenges coming from antisocial forces. The sad reality of the world today is that terrorists want to disrupt the ability of people to live their lives in the ways they want to, including the freedom to worship and engage in community activities. Your government will do what it has to do, to ensure the safety and security of the public. With the people’s help, we will succeed,” the President said.