Simple, peaceful Fiesta Pilar fete amid ultra tight security PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 14 October 2013 11:46

The Fiesta Pilar celebration last Saturday was simple and peaceful with no untoward incident.

Reeling from the three-week standoff between government troops and MNLF fighters, thousands of Zamboangueños came out of their homes to join the procession and the mass amid ultra tight security at the Shrine of the Lady of the Pillar, at the Immaculate Conception Cathetral and all streets within the downtown area.

Heavily armed soldiers and  police troopers as well as army snipers were deployed in the different streets and buildings to secure the procession.

Police record showed no untoward incident took place during the fiesta day especially during the procession from the cathedral to the Shrine.

Police trainees were also deployed to help regular policemen secure the procession and the devotees. The Bomb Squad was on standby for any bomb threats while Smart and Globe networks in Zamboanga City were temporarily shut down during the procession and mass so that any bomb plot using cellphone as triggering device would not work.

Newly-assumed OIC City Police Director Sr. Supt. Supt. Dennis Basngi personally supervised policemen in securing the city during the Fiesta Pilar celebration.

The local police and the city government in close coordination with the Task Force Zamboanga and other military units imposed strict security measures during the procession.

Days before the October 12 festivity, several uniformed and non uniformed police and military personnel already were deployed strategic places in the city amid the continuous clearing operation on the coastal areas where MNLF stragglers might still be holed up.

The Shrine of the Lady ofthe Pillar has been opened to the public from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Until yesterday, thousands of devotees trooped to the shrine to light candles and say prayers.

Before the fiesta, police led by Basngi, Task Force Zamboanga headed by Col. Aldrelino Colina and city officials led by Mayor Beng Climaco-Salazar had met and adopted security matters for the celebration.

Security guards from the different downtown establishments were also utilized ad force multiplier during the procession — Dan Toribio Jr.