Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada has created a special group tasked to ensure the safety and cleanliness of Quiapo and other areas to be used for various activities in connection with the Feast of the Black Nazarene on Saturday.
Estrada said 600 street sweepers will be deployed to clean and clear the roads of all types of clutter as more than 13 million people are expected to take part in the religious event.
“This is part of our continuing agenda of urban renewal and implementing permanent discipline zones throughout the city of Manila. We enjoin everyone and all Manileños to do their share in making Manila clean and green,” said Estrada, who is the Hermano Mayor for the feast.
Estrada tapped Task Force Manila Clean Up chief Rafael Borromeo to prepare his team who will collect and properly dispose of bottles of drinking water, strewn pamphlets and other garbage to be found on side streets and along the seven-kilometer route of the Traslacion procession from the Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park to the church in Quiapo.
Borromeo said they are now organizing 600 personnel positioned in various sites of the Traslacion route to ensure the cleanliness of the venues before and after the religious procession.
He said 100 street sweepers will be cleaning the roads before the start of the procession to make sure that they are clear of glass shards, barbeque sticks, gravel, and other matter which could injure barefoot devotees.
Another 100 will take care of Quirino Grandstand, the venue for the “pahalik” beginning on Friday, the overnight vigil and the mass celebration to be officiated by Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle.
Other members of the group will be positioned in Plaza Miranda while the rest will help restore order along the Traslacion route right after the procession.
“The task force aimed to clean up all venues and the entire stretch of the route within hours after the completion of the activity,” said Borromeo.
At least 300 ‘portalets’ will also be installed around the various sites of the occasion.
During the Christmas and New Year holidays, Borromeo’s team collected 600 bags of trash, mostly from market places like Divisoria, and public parks.
This year, the city government expects more devotees and other participants to flock around the Quiapo Parish as compared to last year’s, because the date of the procession now fell on a Saturday.
Also upon declaration of Estrada, classes at all levels in Manila were suspended on January 9.
Borromeo said last year, the task force, in coordination with the Manila Department of Public Services, collected 30 trucks of trash, equivalent to around 240 tons of garbage for the 19-hour grand procession.
He noted that among the list of Do’s and Don’ts released by the Parish of St. John the Baptist addressed to the faithful and all participants as part of proper conduct during the religious festivity include respect for the surroundings and keeping trash on their pockets and then dumping them later at appropriate waste bins.
The parish and the city government also urged vendors to bring their own garbage receptacles, maintain cleanliness of immediate vicinity of their stalls, and remind their fellow vendors to observe cleanliness as well.