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Pateros Mayor Miguel “Ike” Ponce III has suspended the holding of the “Traslacion” or the procession of the Black Nazarene’s image, and other related activities in the municipality due to the rise in the number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases, according to a report by Manila Bulletin.

Ponce issued Executive Order No. 2 (series of 2022) on Jan. 5 suspending “Traslacion” to follow the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 resolution recommending the suspension of the yearly religious activity.

In his order, Ponce said NTF Resolution #01, Series of 2022 dated Jan. 4 was issued “recommending the suspension of ‘Traslacion’ or the procession of the Black Nazarene’s Image and other related activities.”

“The Feast of the Black Nazarene, held annually from January 7 to 9 and/or any day thereafter, has become one of the most attended religious event anywhere in the Philippines where a huge number of devotees participate in different festivities. It is observed that event of this kind could effectively cause the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” the mayor said in his order.

Ponce ordered the following:

1. “The “Traslacion” or the procession of the Black Nazarene’s Image and all other related activities on January 9, 2022 or immediately before or after said date is hereby suspended and/or is not allowed;

2. “It is recommended that all activities in celebration of the Feast of the Black Nazarene be limited to Church sponsored masses observing the limitation as to capacity under Alert Level 3 and in compliance with the Local Executive Order #001, Series of 2022 dated January 3,2022;

3. “The Pateros PNP, BDAO, TEU, CVO, Bantay Bayan, all Barangay Officials and their deputies and the Covid-19 Task Force in the Municipality of Pateros shall enforce compliance with this Order;

4. “Violation of any of the provision of this Executive Order shall subject both the organizer and participants, to prosecution for disobedience under the Revised Penal Code;

5. “This Executive Order shall take effect immediately.”

Ponce said “there is a continuous increase in COVID-19 virus infection and the number of positive cases prompting the IATF [Inter-Agency Task Force] to place the National Capital Region under Alert Level 3 and the Metro Manila Council to pass and approve MMC Resolution 2022-1 restricting activities of unvaccinated individuals.”

“Mass gathering has been proven to be a major source of COVID-19 virus infection especially if the minimum public health standard is not strictly observed and is discouraged under any Alert Level in the IATF Guidelines for the Implementation of Alert Level System,” he added.

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