By Priam Nepomuceno

BLESSING OF BLACK NAZARENE REPLICAS. Devotees line up replicas of the Black Nazarene along Carriedo Street in Quiapo, Manila on Wednesday (Jan. 3, 2024) for the blessing of the images. The devotees came from various parts of Manila and neighboring provinces, such as Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna and Cavite. (PNA photo by Yancy Lim)

MANILA – A 15,000-strong police force will secure the Traslacion on Jan. 9, with some of them already deployed as early as December, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Friday.

Citing estimates from the 2020 Traslacion, PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo said around 2 million devotees are expected to attend the religious activity, the first in three years since the pandemic hit.

“Inaasahan natin na mga more or less mga ganun din ang bilang na halos 2 million sa kalahatan ‘yung ine-expect natin na lalahok ngayon (We are expecting that around 2 million devotees overall will be attending this year’s Traslacion),” she said.

Traslacion is the procession of the centuries-old black image of Jesus Christ, starting from Quirino Grandstand to Quiapo Church.

Police have been deployed early, Fajardo said, since there were Traslacion-related activities as early as Dec. 30 last year.

Aside from the 15,000 police officers, Fajardo said the PNP has “reserve standby force” that could be deployed if needed.

Meanwhile, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Operations Center will raise to “blue alert” its level status starting Jan. 7, which means heightened monitoring and coordination with other agencies.

An incident management team headed by the Manila City DRRM office will be activated on the ground to monitor the situation and manage incidents.

No-fly, sail zone

As an added security measure, the vicinity of Quirino Grandstand at the Rizal Park and the Quiapo Church are a no-fly and no sail-zone.

“Magsisimula ‘yan sa January 7 at tatagal ‘yan hanggang January 10 (This will start on January 7 and end on January 10),” Fajardo said.

A liquor ban will take effect starting Jan. 8 to 10 within a 500-meter radius of the Quirino Grandstand and Quiapo Church along with a gun ban in the City of Manila on the same dates.

The Traslacion will start from Quirino Grandstand, turn left to Katigbak Street; pass through Padre Burgos Street; and along Finance Road, and Palanca, Arlegui, Fraternal, Vergara, Duque de Alba, Castillejos, Farnecio, Nepomuceno, Concepcion Aguila, Carcer, Hidalgo, Bilibid Viejo, Gil Puyat, and J.P De Guzman Streets; under the Quezon Bridge; and Villalobos Street en route to Plaza Miranda right outside the church. (With a report from Lloyd Caliwan/PNA)