The Commission on Elections on Monday asked politicians to respect the procession of the Black Nazarene—called the Traslacion—and refrain from using it to campaign.
“The Comelec calls on politicians, if possible, to leave these kinds of observances alone,” Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said in a mix of Filipino and English.
“There is a time for politics. The campaign period is coming up very fast and many politicians have already been campaigning anyway. What is one day to just give Filipinos a chance to focus on this very important part of their community life?”
The Philippine Coast Guard, meanwhile, said it has beefed up security preparations for the annual Traslacion.
READ: Joint Task Force-NCR to help secure ‘Traslacion’
In a statement on Monday, the PCG said it would deploy its patrol vessels to secure the vicinity of the Quirino Grandstand and Pasig River.
A total of 31 vessels would be deployed alongside with personnel from the Philippine National Police-Maritime Group, Philippine Red Cross, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary as part of security measures for the event.
“The BRP Boracay and BRP Panglao will be positioned at the Manila Baywalk, which will serve as command post and medical evacuation post in emergency cases and eventuality of non-passable roads due to the Traslacion,” Capt. Rolando Punzalan, PCG-National Capital Region District Commander, said.
Rubber boats and small craft would be used and medical personnel would be on standby to provide emergency assistance to devotees along the Jones Bridge, according to Punzalan.
Meanwhile, some roads in Manila will be closed to motorists for the procession of the Black Nazarene on Jan. 8 and 9.
In its traffic advisory, the Manila District Traffic Enforcement Unit of the Manila Police District said road closures will be implemented in the following areas:
Jan. 8, 2019 - 10 p.m.:
• Katigbak Drive and South Drive (one lane-accessible to Manila and H2O Hotel)
• Northbound lane of Quezon and McArthur Bridges from Bonifacio Shrine onwards
• Taft Avenue from Ayala Boulevard to Bonifacio Shrine
Jan. 9, 2019—midnight:
• Stretch of McArthur, Jones and Quezon Bridges
• Roxas Boulevard from Katigbak Drive to T. M. Kalaw Street
• Both lanes of Quezon Boulevard (Quiapo) closed to traffic from A. Mendoza/Fugoso Streets and Espana Boulevard/P. Campa Street for southbound and from Taft Avenue/Ayala Boulevard for northbound
“Closure of some streets will be in effect as the procession approaches and will be opened immediately once the tail-end of the procession passes,” the advisory read.
The route of the Grand Procession of the Black Nazarene will be from the Quirino Grandstand to Katigbak Drive through P. Burgos, left Taft Avenue through Jones Bridge, right to Dasmarinas Street, right to Plaza Sta. Cruz Street, left Carlos Palanca Street under Quezon Bridge, left Quezon Boulevard, right Arlegui Street, right Fraternal Street, right Vergara Street, left Duque de Alba Street, left Castillejos Street, left Farnecio Street, right Arlegui Street, left Nepomuceno Street (counterflow), left Aguila Street, right Carcer Street, right Hidalgo through Plaza del Carmen, left Bilibid Viejo through Puyat, left Guzman Street, right Hidalgo Street, left Bautista (Barbosa) Street, right Globo de Oro through under Quezon Bridge, right Palanca Street, right Villalobos through Plaza Miranda to Quiapo Church.
Various environmentalist groups on Monday urged devotees not to turn the Traslacion of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, Manila to a “Trash-lacion”.
Carrying banners and placards, the groups gathered in front of the Quiapo Church on Monday to call on the devotees to prevent garbage from again sullying the annual religious event.
To emphasize the need for waste prevention, three volunteers donning maroon and yellow Black Nazarene shirts carried a garbage-filled globe on their shoulders.
“Hundreds of sweepers for sure will be assigned to pick up the trash left behind by the passionate believers, as well as enterprising vendors. But why litter and expect other people to clean up after you?” said Ecowaste zero waste campaigner Daniel Alejandre.
He added “As cleanliness is next to godliness, we request all the devotees to be responsible for their discards, protect our common environment from garbage, and take care of each other as brothers and sisters in faith. As stewards of the earth, please commit to a trash-less Traslacion.”
The Department of Health, meanwhile, reminded devotees joining the traditional procession to bring enough drinking water to avoid dehydration and wear comfortable clothes and protective footwear.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III also said all DOH hospitals are on ‘Code White’ alert, referring to the readiness status of the facilities assuring the availability of general and orthopedic surgeons, anesthesiologists, internists, operating room nurses, ophthalmologists, and otorhinolaryngologists, to respond to any emergency situation.
He said medical teams composed of a doctor, nurse and paramedics from the DOH Metro Manila hospitals were tapped to assist participants in the Traslacion. Thirteen medical teams will be stationed along the procession route.
He added that emergency health service, nursing, and administrative personnel residing at the hospital dormitories are also placed on an on-call status to enable immediate mobilization.
The Manila city official said vendors have been banned along the route of the procession.
Those who violate the ban may have their wares confiscated, Manila City Administrator Ericson Alcovendaz told radio dzMM.
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