By Mortz C. Ortigoza
MANAOAG – The chief of police of this pilgrim town did not worry to any security nightmare brought by the hundreds of thousands of people who attended the proclamation of the Marian Shrine of Our Lady of Manaoag as minor basilica and the Region 1 Athletic Association (R1AA).
|Police Major Edison Revita, Manaoag's chief of police, gives instruction|
to his bicycle patrol cops. Background is the Marian Shrine of Our Lady
of Manaoag and the huge presence of devotees.
In the last year’s Holy Week the mettle of Revita and his men have been tested when a million of devotees came here.
“During the Holy Week almost a million visitors came here and we have zero crime incidents. We made that happened because of the support of the stakeholders, local government unit, church, and force multipliers that include the vendors, TODA (transport groups), drivers, all ambulant vendors, parking assistant, and others,” Revita proudly narrated last year to this paper
The solemn proclamation of the Church, interceded by Pope Francis himself, that was held last February 17 would make Our Lady of Manaoag as the only basilica in the Pangasinan- Nueva Ecija areas, according to Revita.
Before the proclamation Triduum Massses and procession had been held for three successive days.
Cardinals Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, Orlando Cardinal Quevedo, Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales and the Papal Nuncio Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto and around 50 bishops and 160 priests joined the proclamation.
He said the R1AA have been scheduled here from February 11 to 20.
Since neighbouring towns of Mangaldan, Pozorrubio, Binalonan, and San Jacinto have been the host of students from the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur and La Union he requested that fellow chiefs of police Superintendent Jackie Candelario of Mangaldan, Chief Inspector Ryan Manongdo of Pozorrobio, Chief Inspector Oliver Abayan Binalonan and Senior Inspector Rommel Bagsic of San Jacinto to observe how he and his men handle crowd control.
“I just want to share with my fellow chiefs of police how to handle massive crowd in these twin events. Sa akin normal lang itong pag pasok ng million na tao pero sa kanila it would be a learning experience,” he said as he showed the number of people milling the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag last Holy Week.
Revita cited that his 46 police force had been augmented by another roughly 40 policemen led by Superintendent Benjamin Ariola, chief of operation, of the Pangasinan Police Office, barangay tanods (village watchmen) from this town’s 26 barangays.
“Even the tricycle drivers, vendors, my force multipliers wear their I.D (official issued identification card). They are my eyes and ears for any law breakers and eventuality. They have already been oriented”.