At least six million devotees of the Black Nazarene are expected to join in this year’s “Traslacion” or the procession of the image of the Black Nazarene, a Quiapo Church official said on Tuesday.
Quiapo social communications coordinator Jonnaus Bautista said the procession on Jan. 9 may be faster this year than last year because of the new and shorter route.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Tuesday placed all 16 of the department’s hospitals in Metro Manila on Code White Alert in preparation for the Traslacion.
Fourteen health emergency response teams will also be deployed in strategic areas along the route of the Traslacion to provide emergency medical services to the thousands of devotees expected to attend.
“I call on all devotees who will be joining the procession to wear comfortable clothes and protective footwear and to wear hats and bring fans to combat the heat. Also, bring raincoats/ponchos in case it rains, and enough drinking water to avoid dehydration,” Duque said.
Meanwhile, the Metro Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council is joining the Police and the Armed Forces in protecting the people and ensure peace and order during the Traslacion.
Danilo Lim, chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and concurrent MMDRRMC chief, said the Council was also on “blue alert” to ensure the safety and well-being of the devotees.
Bautista said the image of the Black Nazarene will pass through Ayala Bridge instead of Jones Bridge this year.
He said the procession may only take 15 to 16 hours, compared with last year that took almost 23 hours.
At least 13,000 policemen will be deployed to ensure the safety and security of the millions of devotees, said Police Lieutenant Colonel Reynaldo Magdaluyo, commander of Manila Police District Station 3.
Magdaluyo also assured the public that the “zero-vendor policy” ordered by Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko” Domagoso will be strictly implemented on the entire route of the Traslacion.
“Vendors are not allowed along the Traslacion route. They will be arrested,” Magdaluyo said.
Classes in all levels, both private and public, and local government workers have already been suspended in observance of the Traslacion. With Macon Ramos-Araneta and Joel E. Zurbano