MMDA says all systems go for Nazarene procession
Mike Frialde ( - January 6, 2016 - 1:57am

MANILA, Philippines - The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Wednesday said all systems are go for the annual celebration of the “Traslacion” or the procession of the image of the Black Nazarene on Saturday.

Observed during the ninth day of January each year, devotees of the Black Nazarene accompany the life-size image of the Christ as it is brought back to the Quiapo Church from a vigil at the Qurino Grandstand.

Despite the preparations made, MMDA chairman Emerson Carlos still expressed concern for what will happen after the procession ends on Sunday morning when churchgoers are expected to attend Mass at the Quiapo church.

“Ang pinakacause of concern namin ay ang January 10 is a Sunday. So natatapos usually ang procession, a day after. May nagsisimba dun. Baka magkaabutan. Mas maraming tao because it’s a Sunday. Otherwise okay na tayo. All systems go na,” said Carlos.

The MMDA will be deploying a total of 1,680 personnel to help manage traffic and clear the route of the annual Traslacion from the Quirino Grandstand to the Quiapo Church on Saturday.

According to Crisanto Saruca, director of the MMDA’s Traffic Discipline Office (TDO), the agency’s personnel will include members of the MMDA Road Rescue Unit and 100 members of the Sidewalk Clearing Operations Group (SCOG) will be deployed starting Thursday.

On Thursday, devotees are expected to attend the procession of replicas of the Black Nazarene image. The procession of replicas starts at 2 p.m. from Plaza Miranda fronting the Quiapo Church and will pass through Quezon Boulevard, Recto Avenue, Loyola Street, Puyat Street, Guzman Street, Hidalgo Street, Barbosa Street, Globo de Oro Street, Palanca Street, and Villabos Street.

Saruca said 75 percent of the deployed MMDA team for the Traslacion would be composed of traffic enforcers.

According to Saruca, based on this year’s Traslacion program, the “Pahalik” or kissing of the Black Nazarene image at the Quirino Grandstand starts at 8 a.m. on Friday with the January 8 vigil starting at 7 p.m. until midnight.

On Saturday, the image of the Black Nazarene leaves the Quirino Grandstand at 7 a.m.

Saruca warns motorists to expect heavy traffic on the streets near the Traslacion’s route. Saruca said there would be no road closures for the Traslacion but vehicular traffic would be rerouted.

From the Quirino Grandstand, the image of the Black Nazarene will turn left at Katigbak Drive, then will pass through P. Burgos, turn left at Taft Avenue (P. Burgos) pass through Jones Bridge, turn right at Escolta Street, turn right at Dasmariñas Street, turn right at Plaza Sta. Cruz Street, turn left at left at Carlos Palanca Street, pass under the Quezon Bridge, turn left at Quezon Boulevard, turn right at Arlegui Street, turn right at Fraternal Street, turn right at Vergara Street, turn left at Duque de Alba Street, turn left at Castillejos Street, turn left at Farnecio Street, turn right at Arlegui Street, turn left at Nepomuceno Street, turn left at Aguila Street, turn right at Carcer Street, turn right at Hidalgo Street, pass through Plaza del Carmen, turn left at Bilibid Viejo Street pass through Gonzalo Puyat Street, turn left at Guzman Street, turn right at Hidalgo Street, turn left at Barbosa Street, turn right at Globo de Oro through under the Quezon Bridge, turn right at Palanca Street, turn right at Villalobos Street, pass through Plaza Miranda and back to the Quiapo Church.

Saruca has advised motorists to avoid the procession route and take alternate roads.

The MMDA will be releasing its traffic rerouting scheme on January 9.

All vehicles from the northern part of Manila intending to use the southbound leg of Bonifacio Drive should turn right to Roberto S. Oca Street, left to Delgado Street, left to Bonifacio Drive, right to Soriano Avenue to Magallanes Drive, right to P. Burgos Street, straight to Lagusnilad to Taft Avenue.

Heavy vehicles and cargo trucks coming from southern Metro Manila should take Osmeña Drive, right to Quirino to Nagtahan Street.

All buses coming from southern Metro Manila passing through Taft Avenue will not be allowed to enter from 7 a.m. to 12 noon. Buses are only allowed to up to Quirino. 

Motorists intending to go to north or south of Manila should use the stretch of Lacson to Nagtahan or the stretch of Road 10 to Roxas Boulevard to avoid traffic congestion.

Motorists coming from Quezon City who will pass through España Boulevard should turn right to P. Campa Street, left to Andalucia Street, right to Fugoso Street, left to T. Mapua Street to point of destination.

Vehicles intending to proceed to South Pier Zone should turn left to Nicanor Reyes Street, right to Recto, left to Reina Regente Street, straight to Jones Bridge to point of destination.

Vehicles coming from Divisoria intending to utilize the stretch of Recto should turn left to T. Alonzo Street, right to Fugoso Street, left to Andalucia Street to point of destination.

Meanwhile, those coming from Legarda should turn right to Recto or left to Mendiola to point of destination.

The personnel deployed by the MMDA to help secure and clean-up the procession routes will no longer be required to wear adult diapers.

“Ginamit noon yun (adult diapers).  Yung mga sidewalk clearing naming, nakasuot. Yung mga nagbantay ng vigil, yung mga hindi pwedeng umalis sa harap ng Nazareno dahil at anytime, maaring pumasok ang mga tao, yun ang mga naka-diaper. Pero sa Sabado, wala na,” said Carlos.

Carlos added that the MMDA did not buy any adult diapers for this year’s Traslacion.

“Wala kaming supply ngayon. Yung dati ay na distribute na namin,” he said.

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