IATF approves resolution canceling Traslacion

Alexis Romero - Philstar.com
IATF approves resolution canceling Traslacion
In this Jan. 5, 2021 photo, devotees attend the Misa-Nobenaryo for the Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno
Quiapo Church / Twitter

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has urged the Catholic Church to cancel religious events that can become super spreaders of COVID-19, including the annual Black Nazarene procession, as the Philippines contends with a fresh spike in infections.

Duterte said while the Black Nazarene procession or Traslacion is important to Catholics, the government has to implement measures to protect public health and safety.

"We have stressed that our job is really to come up with critical decisions to protect public health and public safety," the president said in a pre-recorded public address last Tuesday.

"If the Roman Catholic Church is listening, I am now appealing to you to forgo and cancel all physical gatherings including the procession and the celebration of mass in the church because there are many devotees. There are millions of devotees there. And you cannot just be complacent about the transmission of the disease. I hope the Roman Catholics will understand that all gatherings are not allowed," he added.

Aside from the Traslacion, which is commemorated in Manila every January 9, other events to be held within the next few days that usually draw crowds are the feast of the Santo Niño and Chinese New Year.

Duterte said he would write a letter to the Catholic Church formally requesting the canceling of the religious events.

"I apologize for this but I have to do it because I have to do it. I cannot do anything," the President, adding that his appeal was based on the advice of health experts.  

"I believe in God. There is no problem with that But I have to do things which I hate to do as I said, I have to do it because it's my job to do so," he added.


Acting presidential spokesman Karlo Nograles said the The National Task Force Against COVID-19 (NTF) has approved the suspension of the Traslacion and the closing of the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene or Quiapo Church from January 7 to 9.

"The NTF has also approved the conduct of online masses. No physical holy masses will be held," Nograles said at a press briefing.

"Also approved is the placing of checkpoints and the deployment of officers from the Manila Police District and the Joint Task Force Coronavirus Shield to discourage devotees from going to the church," he added.  

The Traslacion was also canceled last year. 

Epidemiologist John Wong cited the need to administer COVID-19 vaccines efficiently and to remind the public to avoid superspreader events.

"We need better communication to change the public's behavior in terms of crowding, physical distancing, wearing of masks and attending these superspreader events," Wong said.

"We need to avoid these superspreader events especially with Omicron because it’s (more highly) transmissible," he added.

The Philippines already has nearly 40,000 active COVID-19 cases after it recorded 10,775 new cases yesterday.

Booster jabs

Nograles reiterated the need to ramp up vaccination efforts as Metro Manila and nearby provinces record sharp increases in the number of infections.

“Let’s take advantage of increasing the vaccination in the regional areas. While we’re seeing a surge here in Metro Manila and nearby provinces, we have to push for more vaccinations happening in the other regions outside of Metro Manila and CALABARZON,” the Palace official said.

"We need to step up yung vaccination in other regions so that if Omicron or whatever variant goes and spreads dun sa mga regions, then we won’t see an overwhelming number of cases happening in the hospitals,” he added.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said there is a need to be aggressive in the giving of booster shots to retain the protection of vaccinated persons especially in major cities.

"We are still relatively slow in the giving of boosters. At the same time, we need to find and vaccinate the 2.5 million na unvaccinated seniors," Galvez said during a meeting of the government's pandemic task force.  

“We need to revisit the realities that our people’s protection should be further expanded and enhanced through the administration of boosters.” he added.

Galvez reported that as of December 28, Metro Manila has 10.4 million fully vaccinated persons with 6.5 million due for a booster dose. Data also showed that only 30% of the new eligible population are fully protected against severe illness, hospitalization and death due to the waning effect of vaccines. About 3.8 million persons who recently received pandemic jabs still have strong antibodies, the vaccine czar said. 


  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with