Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada has declared Jan. 9 as a holiday in Manila in celebration of the Feast of the Black Nazarene, one of the country’s biggest religious activities.
Estrada said around 1,000 policemen will be deployed in different areas around downtown Quiapo church, in addition to the 7,000 members of the Philippine National Police from the National Capital Region Police Office to maintain peace and order during the celebration.
The mayor suspended classes and work in government offices in the capital to give way to the “Traslacion” of the Black Nazarene on Jan. 9.
“Exempted from work suspension are those involved in the maintenance of peace and order, traffic enforcement, disaster and risk reduction management, health and sanitation,” according to a Manila City hall official.
Meanwhile, officials of the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene said as many as 18 million guests and devotees are expected to flock to Quiapo Church starting from Jan. 5 to Jan. 9.
A church official estimated at least 2.5 million devotees would join the 2019 celebration of the Traslacion, the procession of the miraculous image of Black Nazarene around the city of Manila starting from the Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park and ending in Quiapo Church.
Last year, around 1.5 million people took part in the seven-kilometer parade.