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Manila announced the closure of several roads on Jan 8 and 9 in time for the observance of the Feast of the Black Nazarene, according to a report by Philippine News Agency.

Despite the announced road closure, Manila Public Information Office chief Julius Leonen clarified that processions are still not allowed due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

Wala pong ilalabas na Poon (The Black Nazarene will not be brought out) and we’re encouraging them to stay at home since the masses will be broadcast live on Facebook by the Quiapo Church,” Leonen said in a text message on Wednesday.

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He said the city government is encouraging devotees not to expose themselves to Covid-19, and reminded the public that mass gatherings are still not allowed by the Inter-Agency Task for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

He added that road closure and traffic rerouting will be implemented by the Manila Police District (MPD) as part of the city’s efforts to prevent congestion and still prepare for the influx of devotees from different parts of Luzon who would want to go to the Quiapo Church to attend masses.

Leonen added that even big replicas of the Black Nazarene that are traditionally brought to the Basilica for the feast day will not be allowed to enter the vicinity of the Quiapo area.

Meanwhile, the following road closures, parking plans, and road rerouting will be implemented by the MPD Traffic Enforcement Unit from Jan. 8 starting at 10 p.m. onwards:

-- Southbound lane of Quezon Boulevard (Quiapo), from A. Mendoza/Fugoso to Carlos Palanca Streets

-- Northbound lane of Quezon Boulevard from Carlos Palanca Street to Fugoso Street

-- Westbound lane of España Boulevard from P. Campa to A Mendoza Streets

-- Stretch of Evangelista Street from P. Paterno Street to C. M Recto Avenue

-- Stretch of Palanca Stret from Carriedo/Plaza Lacson to P. Casal Street

Rerouting of vehicles will be as followed:

-- Vehicles going to the southbound lane of Quezon Boulevard from A. Mendoza: turn right to Fugoso Street then left to Rizal Avenue.

-- Vehicles going to the southbound lane of España Boulevard: turn left to Nicanor Reyes Street, or turn right to P. Campa Street, then left to A. Mendoza Street, then right to Fugoso Street

-- Vehicles coming from McArthur Bridge intending to utilize Palanca Street shall go straight to Rizal Avenue to point of destination.

-- Vehicles coming from Ayala Bridge intending to utilize Palanca Street shall go straight to P. Casal Street to point of destination.

-- Vehicles coming from P. Burgos Avenue intending to utilize Quezon Bridge shall go straight to McArthur Bridge or Jones Bridge to point of destination.

Road closures for Jan. 9 (Saturday) from 12 midnight onwards:

-- Stretch of Ronquillo Street from Rizal Avenue to Plaza Sta. Cruz

-- Stretch of Bustos Street from Plaza Sta. Cruz to Rizal Avenue

Rerouting of vehicles:

-- Vehicles utilizing southbound lane of Rizal Avenue going to Ronquillo Street shall turn right to C. M. Recto Avenue, turn left to Reina Regente Street, to Juan Luna Street, turn left to Plaza Cervantes to Jones Bridge, or go straight to Muelle dela Industria to Escolta to point of destination.

-- Vehicles coming from McArthur Bridge intending to utilize Bustos Street shall go straight to Rizal Avenue to point of destination.

MPD chief Gen. Leo Francisco said they will be deploying more uniformed personnel for the event that is traditionally attended by millions of devotees and normally takes about 16 to 22 hours to finish.

"More or less 6,000 police and another 1,000 plus for force multiplier ang ating ilalatag sa security. Nananawagan rin kami na sa ating mga deboto na iyong mga bata at yung may mga edad na mahigit 65, ay huwag na pumunta dito dahil hindi kayo papapasukin sa checkpoints (There will be more or less 6,000 police and another 1,000 plus force multipliers for the security. We are calling on the devotees not bring children and those who are 65 years and older not to go as they will not be allowed to enter at the checkpoints)," Francisco said.

Leonen said Manila Public Employment Service Office personnel will be distributing free face masks on Saturday and will help in reminding the public to follow minimum public health safety protocols.


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