MANILA, Philippines – Ahead of the annual feast of the Black Nazarene, green group EcoWaste Coalition reminded devotees that Rizal Park, where the procession will begin, is a no smoking and no littering zone.
“We’re keeping our fingers crossed that the tens of thousands of Catholic faithful who will troop to Luneta for the traditional ‘pahalik’ and vigil at the Quirino Grandstand will fully abide by the park’s directive banning littering and smoking,” Ochie Tolentino of EcoWaste Coalition said in a statement Saturday, January 7.
The group said smoking and littering has been banned in the park since 2012 as part of its “Rizal Park Goes Green” project, in compliance with several laws and regulations such as the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, the Tobacco Regulation Act, and the Metro Manila Development Authority Regulation 96-009.
According to EcoWaste Coalition, violators of the smoking and littering ban will be fined accordingly:
- First offense: P500 or 8-hour community service
- Second offense: P1,000 to P5,000 or 16-hour community service
- Third offense: P5,000 to P10,000
“Obeying the park’s no smoking and no littering policy should be an easy thing to do for the devout disciples of the Black Nazarene who are well known for their big-heartedness, humility and piety,” Tolentino said as she urged Filipinos to participate as well in the ongoing Zero Waste Month commemoration by observing a trash-less Traslacion.
“We further appeal to all the devotees to help in picking up the trash at the Quirino Grandstand and parade ground right after the liturgy for the procession on January 9. Let it not be said that the believers came to Luneta in droves to profess their faith and then left the park in a mess,” Tolentino added.
The Feast of the Black Nazarene, held every January 9, is expected to draw up to 8 million devotees raring to touch or see a 17th-century mulatto image of Jesus Christ, in a procession called the Traslacion.
Over 5,700 law enforcers will be deployed to secure millions of devotees who will flock to Manila on Monday. (READ: Maute Group may target Black Nazarene procession)
Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines reminded all drone or unmanned aircraft vehicle (UAV) operators and hobbyists the strict implementation of a “no-fly zone” in areas where the procession will pass through.
Under the provisions of the Philippine Civil Aviation Regulations, any operators found violating rules of the memorandum will be fined between P300,000 to P500,000. – Rappler.com
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