MANILA, Philippines – There will be more security and safety measures for this year's Traslacion of the image of the Black Nazarene in Manila on January 9, as the procession will be going through a different route, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) said on Saturday, January 4.
MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago said in a news briefing on preparations for Traslacion that 20-foot container vans will be placed along the closed roads to block people who may attempt to steer the carriage towards them.
Barbed wire will be placed on top of the beams along Ayala Bridge to prevent devotees from climbing up and jumping from the beams onto the icon's carriage.
Pialago said these security features will be installed after the Pahalik on Monday, January 6.
This year's procession would go through Ayala Bridge, unlike in previous years when it went through Jones Bridge. The Department of Public Works and Highways had recommended Ayala Bridge as the safest bridge for the annual event.
NCRPO chief Brigadier General Debold Sinas also stressed that climbing up the carriage will still be allowed, but only from the rear. Policemen will be stationed at the sides and at the front of the procession to facilitate and monitor the movement of the devotees.
The MMDA will also deploy ambulances, road emergency vehicles, traffic mobile cars, along with 1,000 personnel to help maintain the order of the Traslacion.
Even with the new scheme and the new route in place, Sinas refused to give an estimate as to the duration of this year's procession, saying the police would rather focus on maintaining peace and order. The 2019 Traslacion lasted for around 21 hours.
Police earlier acknowledged the effectivity of the new security scheme during the Black Nazarene Thanksgiving Procession on December 30, and hoped that the same response to the overcrowding would also be applied to the Traslacion. – Rappler.com
Loreben Tuquero is a researcher-writer for Rappler. Before transferring to Rappler's Research team, she covered transportation, Quezon City, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government as a reporter. She graduated with a communication degree from the Ateneo de Manila University.