HOLY WEEK PREPS. Workers of the City General Services Office paint the 14th Station of the Cross at Abong-Abong Holy Hill as necessary preparations are being undertaken by the city government for the observance of the Holy Week. An estimated 20,000 Catholic devotees gather every Holy Week at Abong-Abong Holy Hill to pray at the 14 Station of the Cross at the foot of Mount Pulong Bato. (Photo courtesy of City Hall Public Information Office)

ZAMBOANGA CITY – The city government is making the necessary preparations for the solemn observance of Holy Week which include the sprucing up of the Abong-Abong Holy Hill in Barangay Pasonanca here, Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar said Saturday.

“It will be opened to the public for the first time since the pandemic started in March 2020,” Salazar said.

Police and barangay officials estimated that some 20,000 Catholic devotees gather every Holy Week at Abong-Abong Holy Hill to pray at the 14 Stations of the Cross at the foot of Mount Pulong Bato.

Salazar said workers of the City General Services Office (CGSO) are currently stepping up its preparations such as painting the different Stations of the Cross, repairing dilapidated roads, and cleaning the surroundings in Abong-Abong.

Salazar is meeting with the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office, police, military, and other concerned offices including the barangay officials of Pasonanca to finalize measures and guidelines for the Holy Week.

Col. Alexander Lorenzo, Zamboanga City Police Office (ZCPO) director, said they will deploy policemen in coordination with the military’s Task Force Zamboanga at Abong-Abong to ensure the solemn observance of the Holy Week.

Lorenzo said security forces will be also deployed in churches and in all areas where religious activities are set to be conducted.

Efigenio Julian Jr., Pasonanca barangay chairperson, said the pattern of security, parking, and traffic flow that will be implemented this year will be similar to that in the previous years.

Just like in the previous years before the pandemic, the use of backpacks, baseball caps, hooded jackets, and bladed weapons will be prohibited at the Holy Hill, Julian said. A liquor ban will also be enforced. (PNA)