PRESIDENT Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has declared January 9, 2024 a special non-working day in the city of Manila to give way to the celebration of the Feast of the Black Nazarene.
Marcos issued Proclamation 434 signed by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, giving the people in Metro Manila the “full opportunity to participate in the occasion and enjoy the celebration.”
The first day of the Replica and Estandarte Blessing of the Black Nazarene was held on January 4, while the traditional “pahalik” or the kissing or touching of the image will start on January 6 at the Quirino Grandstand.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) will be fielding around 15,200 police forces for the maintenance of peace and order during the religious event, which includes the traditional “traslacion” or the procession of the Black Nazarene on January 9.
The Traslacion was suspended over the past three years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The PNP said around 2.5 million devotees are expected to join the procession.
In an advisory, the Quiapo church reminded devotees against climbing to the carriage of the image, which has been the tradition over the past years, but throwing of towels to be wiped to the Black Nazarene will continue.
It also urged the participants to not bring many belongings or big bags, or if possible use transparent bags for easier inspection.
Those who are feeling sick are encouraged to stay at home.
The PNP said "No Fly Zone" will be implemented as part of the security measures for the Black Nazarene procession.
PNP Chief General Benjamin Acorda Jr. said signal jamming in areas within Quiapo Church is still being discussed and may be imposed on the day.
Acorda said they have not monitored any significant threat related to the event.
“I am happy with the report of our intel. There are no major threats but again palagi kong inuulit even in the absence of such threat, we always prepare for the worse that is our preparation,” he said. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)