ILOILO City – The traditional simbang gabi starts today. It is a nine-day predawn mass leading to Christmas Day.
The Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) is on full alert status, said Police Brigadier General Rene Pamuspusan, regional director.
Police visibility will be maximized to deter lawless elements from striking, said Police Lieutenant Colonel Joem Malong, PRO-6 spokesperson.
The PRO-6 has 6,160 police personnel.
There will be “preventive patrol operations”, said Malong.
The full alert status will last until Jan. 5, 2020.
Community firecracker zones would also be posted with policemen.
The PRO-6 will be tapping 12,917 force multipliers (barangay tanods, volunteers and barangay officials).
“We want the Yuletide season peaceful and orderly,” said Malong. “We appeal for public cooperation.”
In Iloilo City, simbang gabi is not an excuse for minors to flout the curfew, according to the Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO).
The curfew is from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. But with the simbang gabi usually starting at 4 a.m., policemen expect churchgoers – including youngsters – to be up and about much earlier.
ICPO advised youngsters to better go straight to church and not loiter in public plazas.
Under Regulation Ordinance No. 2016- 230, which amended Regulation Ordinance No. 2011-676, minors (those below 18 years old) are prohibited from loitering beyond 10 p.m. in restaurants, nightclubs, motels, dancehalls, amusement places such as Internet cafes, video arcades, karaoke bars, billiard halls, beach resorts and other similar establishments.
Also under the curfew ordinance, minors are prohibited from selling or vending whatever items (including food and beverages) even with their parents or guardians around, and its shall be unlawful for business establishments to admit minors within their premises during curfew hours./PN