AT least 12 million devotees are expected to flock to the Quiapo Church in Quiapo, Manila, within the week to join the observance of the feast day of the Black Nazarene on January 9.
The religious feast will culminate in a grand procession that wounds through Manila’s streets.
The Manila Police District director, Chief Supt. Rolando Nana, on Monday said preparations for the huge annual procession started in November last year.
More than a thousand police personnel from the National Capital Region (Metro Manila) Police Office (NCRPO) will augment the 3,000-strong Manila police force.
The police will bare details of the preparations today.
Last year, 5.5 million people participated in the traslacion that lasted almost 24 hours. Two persons died—one due to a heart attack.
Every year, millions of unshod devotees participate in the religious festival, a testament to the vibrancy of the Catholic faith in the Philippines.
Johnny Yu, head of the Manila Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (MDRRMO), said at least 20 medical first aid stations will be set up is various areas from the Quirino Grandstand at the Luneta (Rizal Park) on Roxas Boulevard to Quiapo Church.
Firetrucks and ambulances will also be deployed, Yu added.
He advised devotees to carry or keep identification cards in their pockets with details such as name, address, blood type, sickness, maintenance drugs and name of relatives and their contact numbers.
Yu said children and senior citizens should not join the procession.
“They can watch the procession from any of the restaurants or fastfood [outlets]along the procession route,” he added.
Malacañang also on Monday said it has not received any report regarding plans to disrupt the procession of the Black Nazarene.
Quoting the Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesman, Chief Supt. Wilben Mayor, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said security measures are in place for the feast day on January 9.
“As of this time, no threat has been monitored. Continuous monitoring will be conducted by intelligence units to ensure the safety and security of the devotees,” Coloma added.
In 2012, the government asked telecommunication firms to shut down mobile phone services in areas where the procession passed through as part of heightened security measures.