By Ferdinand Patinio

(PNA file photo)

MANILA – A prelate of the Quiapo Church on Wednesday reminded devotees that climbing the andas (carriage) of the Black Nazarene will be prohibited during this “Traslacion” to celebrate its feast on Jan. 9.

In a video message, Rev. Fr. Jesus Madrid Jr., parochial vicar, said the public will no longer be allowed to climb the andas to wipe the image with cloth, towel, or handkerchief.

“Bawal sumampa sa andas upang maipakita ang Mahal na Poong Jesus Nazareno. Huwag magtulakan upang walang masaktan (Climbing the andas to show devotion to the Black Nazarene would be prohibited. Let’s not push each other so that no one would be hurt),” he said.

Devotees, however, are allowed to throw towels, cloth or handkerchiefs which would then be wiped for them by members of the Hijos del Nazareno, who are on the carriage.

He also advised those who will join the procession which will start from Quirino Grandstand in Luneta to the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quezon Boulevard in Manila to fully prepare themselves for the occasion.

“Bago magsimula ang Traslacion, huwag kalimutan na kumain na upang may sapat na lakas habang dumadaloy ang Traslacion (Before the Traslacion starts, don’t forget to eat well so that you have enough energy to join the Traslacion),” he added.

He also advised vulnerable individuals, such as the elderly and children, to just stay on the sidewalks where the procession would be passing through for their safety.

He also urged devotees to refrain from bringing many belongings or just carry a transparent bag for easy inspection by authorities.

Meanwhile, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is undertaking road maintenance activities along the route of the grand procession.

In her report to DPWH Secretary Manuel Bonoan, DPWH National Capital Region Director Loreta Malaluan said the agency’s North and South District Engineering Offices (DEOs) were instructed to fix defects and other road hazards, following a joint inspection with the Feast of the Black Nazarene Committee.

“Potholes, as well as tree branches and other road obstructions within road right-of-way, are now being cleared by our DEOs to ensure safety of the devotees,” she said in a statement.

The DPWH North Manila DEO will also install temporary railings for Arlegui Bridge to ensure the safety of pedestrians.

PCG on alert

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Wednesday also started its security preparations for the religious event.

In a statement, PCG Commandant, Adm. Ronnie Gavan directed PCG District National Capital Region – Central Luzon (NCR-CL) to support the Philippine National Police (PNP) in implementing security operations.

“The PCG will deploy Coast Guard K9 units to conduct paneling at the Quirino Grandstand, Jones Bridge, and within Quiapo Church,” Gavan said.

Aside from assisting in crowd control operations, the PCG will also help in securing vicinity waters off Pasig River and parts of Manila Bay near Quirino Grandstand through coastal patrols.

PCG medical teams will also be on standby to provide assistance as well as guide potential mass evacuation on Pasig River and Manila Bay. (with report from Raymond Carl dela Cruz/PNA)