DEVOTEES of the Black Nazarene were given an unexpected but welcome surprise by organizers of this year’s Traslacion by starting the “pahalik” activity at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila late Monday, two days ahead of its scheduled start.
Under the original schedule, the “pahalik” is set to start only today, Wednesday, and will continue until the start of the grand procession tomorrow, Thursday.
“We are attempting to lessen the long queues and the long hours of waiting,” Quiapo Church Rector Msgr. Ding Coronel said yesterday, explaining their decision to give devotees more time to venerate the iconic image of black Christ.
The image of the Black Nazarene was transferred to the Quirino Grandstand last Monday.
The “pahalik” is one of the most anticipated events of a annual feast of the Black Nazarene.
Quiapo Church Parochial Vicar Fr. Douglas Badong appealed to devotees with replica images of the Black Nazarene to refrain from bringing them during the actual procession.
“We encourage them not to bring the replicas on January 9. That’s the reason why we already designated a time and day for them so they won’t bring it anymore. Hopefully, many will comply,” Badong said.
Yesterday, the blessing and procession of the replica images of the Black Nazarene was held at the Quiapo Church area, resulting in gridlocks in roads leading to the area.
The Manila Police District yesterday said 1,136 Black Nazarene devotees flocked to the Quirino Grandstand as of 1 p.m. yesterday for the “pahalik.”
Lt. Col. Reynaldo Magdaluyo, commander of MPD Station 3, said the “zero-vendor policy” will strictly be implemented in streets where the Traslacion will pass, in compliance with the orders of Manila Mayor Isko Moreno.
The Metro Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council on Monday raised the blue alert status to ensure the safety of devotees who will participate in the Traslacion. The blue alert status will be in effect until Friday.
Michael Salalima, concurrent chief of staff of the MMDA Office General Manager and Focal Person for Disaster Risk Reduction and Management, said under the blue alert status, all response clusters and MMDRRMC members are on standby to respond to any disaster and emergency that may happen during the parade.
Yesterday, MMDA chairman Danilo Lim, also the concurrent head of the MMDRRMC, inspected the Quirino Grandstand grounds where devotees lined up for the “pahalik.” Lim said around 1,000 MMDA personnel have been deployed to help maintain order in the area.
The MMDA said traffic enforcers will manage traffic at Quirino Grandstand and Quiapo Church and conduct clearing operations along the route of the procession.
The Traslacion will start at Quirino Grandstand and proceed to Katigbak Road through Padre Burgos St., Finance Road through Ayala Boulevard, Palanca St., Quezon Boulevard, Arlegui St., Fraternal St., Vergara St., Duque de Alba St., Castillejos St., to Farnecio St.;
Arlegui St., Nepomuceno St., Concepcion Aguila St., Carcer St., Hidalgo thru Plaza Del Carmen, Bilibid Viejo thru Gil Puyat, JP De Guzman St., Hidalgo St., Quezon Boulevard, Palanca St. under the Quezon Bridge, Villalobos through Plaza Miranda and end at the Quiapo Church.
These roads will be temporarily closed on Thursday.
An estimated 13,000 police personnel will be deployed in Manila to ensure the safety and security of an estimated six million devotees who are expected to participate in the procession.
The Supreme Court yesterday announced the suspension of work in all Manila courts this Thursday during the Traslacion.
The memorandum, dated Jan. 7 and signed by Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta suspended work in the High Court, including the Philippine Judicial Academy and the Judicial and Bar Council, the Court of Appeals and the regional and metropolitan trial courts “because of the magnified traffic brought about by the annual event affecting areas nearby.”
Peralta said a skeletal force will man the receiving sections of the Judicial Records Office of the courts. Employees who will render service on Thursday will be entitled to a one-day compensatory time-off. – With Rod Lagusad, Ashzel Hachero and Noel Talacay