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The PNP has begun preparing for the dawn masses.

The traditional dawn masses (Simbang Gabi) will begin on December 15 with the anticipated mass, and all police station heads have begun planning security and safety measures.

More cops must be deployed for novena masses leading up to the Christmas Eve mass, according to Philippine National Police (PNP) commander Gen. Dionardo Carlos, to ensure that health and safety regulations are followed.

Cops are also stationed near malls that are open longer hours during the holiday season, as well as night markets, food parks, and public utility vehicle terminals and ports.

Physical separation and the wearing of masks will allow churches to accommodate 70% of their normal capacity.

Simbang Gabi could begin as early as 6 p.m., according to the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). for the upcoming mass and the 6 a.m. morning mass

“The Bishop of the place, in consultation with parish pastors and in coordination with the LGU (local government unit), could schedule more Simbang Gabi masses in different venues that can accommodate more people while still maintaining social distance,” the CBCP said in a recent statement.

Cops on foot and on mobile patrol will be more visible, according to the PNP chief.

“When the public sees police mobile units with bright blinkers announcing their presence, they should not be concerned.” It just implies that your PNP is close by and ready to help when required,” Carlos said in a statement released on Tuesday.

“These will be pivotal days that will test the Church’s, police’s, local governments, and health authorities’ resolve to implement minimum public health standards under Alert Level 2 without breaking tradition or spoiling the holiday spirit,” he added.

Criminal elements involved in common crimes such as mugging, swindling, gang wars, robbery and theft, and burglary of unattended residences will be on the lookout.

The chief of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), Maj. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr., previously stated that officers will once again use rattan sticks (yantok) to ensure that safe physical distance is maintained in churches.

“It can also be used as a disciplinary tool for aggressive behavior,” Danao said, adding that it is the last resort.

As part of the “work near home” policy, NCRPO personnel will report for duty in areas close to their homes, allowing them to spend more time with their families.

“They still have to report to the precincts,” Danao said. “We have a contingency plan or security plan in place, so there will be policemen everywhere, not just in churches and malls, but also in tourist destinations, to ensure the safety and security of our kababayan (countrymen).”

The NCRPO oversees the Northern, Southern, and Eastern police districts in Manila and Quezon City.

Community fireworks would be allowed during the New Year’s Eve celebration in designated areas, according to Danao, with LGU approval.

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