The police are deploying more than 25,000 officers in anticipation of devotees still trying to come tomorrow to the Feast of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, Manila, despite the cancellation of the traditional Traslacion.
National Capital Region police commander Vicente Danao said “all systems go for the Feast of the Black Nazarene.”
He said troops from the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force had been sent to the area as early as Dec. 22 last year, aside from the more than 6,000 policemen from the Manila Police District.
“More or less 20,000 policemen from the other police districts of the NCRPO, Regional Headquarters and Regional Mobile Force Battalion will be deployed on the day before the Feast of the Black Nazarene,” Danao said.
Meanwhile, the Department of Health together with the Healthcare Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19 and the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene on Thursday called on the public to refrain from visiting Quiapo Church amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Traslacion 2021 has been cancelled, but the officials of Quiapo Church led by Reverend Monsignor Hernando Coronel said they were still expecting an influx of devotees to view the image of the Black Nazarene.
And instead of the traditional procession, more masses will be held for Black Nazarene devotees
On Tuesday, Danao and other MPD officials led by commander Leo Francisco inspected the key areas to be affected by the feast, as well as the four churches in Manila: Sta Cruz Church, San Sebastian Church, Nazarene Catholic School and Quiapo Church, where masses will be held.
Danao said no vendors were allowed within the vicinity of Quiapo Church while the devotees would be prohibited from bringing or using backpacks or colored canisters.
“Only transparent plastic bags and transparent water containers or bottled water are allowed. This is to avoid the occurrence of any untoward incidents,” Danao said.
He said this year’s religious event would be a big challenge.
“One of the challenges is the implementation of minimum health standards. Unlike before, even though people were close, now we have a problem with COVID-19 and the latest strain of the virus,” Danao said.
“Since the health standard protocols have been implemented for almost a year, I solicit the cooperation of the churchgoers to implement self-imposed discipline like wearing face mask, face shield and observing social distancing at all times.”
Quiapo Church officials earlier urged the government to expand to 50 percent its maximum capacity for the Feast of the Black Nazarene.
The current maximum capacity for churches in the areas under general community quarantine is 30 percent.