• US, Canada, UK issue warning on Quiapo feast

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    THE United States, the United Kingdom and Canada have told their nationals in Manila to take caution ahead of Monday’s Black Nazarene procession, which is expected to draw millions of barefoot devotees.

    In a security message, the US Embassy cited road closures and massive pedestrian and vehicle traffic on Roxas Boulevard and adjacent major thoroughfares.

    All mobile phone coverage will be jammed in areas along the route of the procession, and telecommunications disruptions are expected throughout Metro Manila, it added.

    “Travel in the downtown Manila area [will be]difficult or impossible, as people assemble to participate in the event and during the event itself,” the embassy said on its website on Friday.

    Manila City Hall has declared January 9 a holiday, with city offices and schools closed. The US Embassy on Roxas Boulevard will also be closed.

    The British government, meanwhile, cited information from the Department of the Interior and Local Government on possible terror threats to the annual Catholic feast.

    “You should take particular care in crowded places and follow the advice of the local authorities,” it said in an updated advisory on Saturday.

    The Canadian Embassy cautioned its citizens planning to join the traslacion or the transfer of the centuries-old image of the Christ carrying the cross from Rizal Park to the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo district.

    “Although the event is normally peaceful, if you plan on attending, please exercise caution and expect heavy traffic in the area,” it said on Facebook.

    On Monday, the procession of the black wooden statue will begin at Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park, and proceed to the Minor Basilica, also known as Quiapo Church.

    The 4.5 mile-procession usually lasts for 20 hours because of immense crowds jostling to touch the image or even the rope pulling it. Devotees start gathering in Rizal Park on Sunday.

    The US also reminded its citizens of the existing Department of State “worldwide caution,” dated September 9, 2016, indicating an ongoing threat of terrorist actions and violence against American citizens and interests abroad, including the Philippines.

    The UK maintained the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s advice against all travel to Western Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago because of ongoing terrorist activity and clashes between the military and insurgent groups, and advised against all but essential travel to the rest of Mindanao and to the south of Cebu province, including the municipalities of Dalaguete and Badian.

    MICHAEL JOE T. DELIZO

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    2 Comments

    1. Their warnings sound about right : no use feeling indignant if personal safety in an alien country is imminent.

    2. This is what the LORD says:
      “Do not act like the other nations,
      who try to read their future in the stars.
      Do not be afraid of their predictions,
      even though other nations are terrified by them.

      Their ways are futile and foolish.
      They cut down a tree, and a craftsman carves an idol.

      They decorate it with gold and silver
      and then fasten it securely with hammer and nails
      so it won’t fall over.

      Their gods are like
      helpless scarecrows in a cucumber field!
      They cannot speak,
      and they need to be carried because they cannot walk.
      Do not be afraid of such gods,
      for they can neither harm you nor do you any good.”

      LORD, there is no one like you!
      For you are great, and your name is full of power.

      Who would not fear you, O King of nations?
      That title belongs to you alone!
      Among all the wise people of the earth
      and in all the kingdoms of the world,
      there is no one like you.

      People who worship idols are stupid and foolish.
      The things they worship are made of wood!

      Idols are worthless; they are ridiculous lies!
      On the day of reckoning they will all be destroyed.

      But the God of Israel[fn] is no idol!
      He is the Creator of everything that exists,
      including Israel, his own special possession.
      The LORD of Heaven’s Armies is his name!

      Pack your bags and prepare to leave;
      the siege is about to begin.

      For this is what the LORD says:
      “Suddenly, I will fling out
      all you who live in this land.
      I will pour great troubles upon you,
      and at last you will feel my anger.”

      Jeremiah 10: 2-8; 15-18