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Strict liquor ban during Sto. Niño fiesta

Pat C. Santos

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Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso has instructed the Manila Police District (MPD), under the leadership of P/Brig. Gen. Leo Francisco, to ensure that health and safety protocols are followed during the celebration of the feast of the Sto. Niño in Tondo and Pandacan.

Likewise, he ordered that a liquor ban be implemented this weekend, from 16 to 17 January 2021.

In an interview with Daily Tribune, Francisco disclosed that five MPD stations will be tapped to monitor compliance with city ordinances focusing on physical distancing and the liquor ban during the two-day event.

MPD Station 10 will be backed by Station 6 for the Pandacan area, while in Tondo, Stations 1, 2 and 7, an additional 100 men from the district mobile group and another 100 more from the Philippine National Police headquarters, totaling a 515-man police force, will perform foot patrols.

Police control points will be installed at the entrances of churches to enforce the minimum crowd capacity, both inside and outside them.

As experienced during the recent festivities for the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, those who will not be accommodated due to the limited capacity will have to wait at the control point and must observe the one-meter distancing rule.

All stores will not be allowed to sell any kind of liquor from 16 to 17 January.

Likewise, the curfew will be strictly implemented from midnight to 4 a.m.

Members of the MPD Special Weapons and Tactics units backed by cops on foot patrol will scout roads and alleys to ensure no one violates the liquor ban, or they will face arrest.

“We will be strict, especially to those who are drunk or smell of liquor. We will not allow them to attend Mass if they smell of liquor or are seen to be intoxicated,” Francisco said.

On the other hand, barangay officials will serve as force multiplier to augment the police who are keeping order, as well as compliance with the mayor’s executive orders.

The barangays have been tasked to identify residents and visitors, and not allow outsiders to visit households during the fiesta.

As has become standard, the police force will be unarmed and will only be issued a rattan stick to enforce discipline and to properly implement health protocols.

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