A sea of humanity celebrates the feast of Black Nazarene at the Quirino Grandstand. - Photo by GMA Network.
A sea of humanity celebrates the feast of Black Nazarene at the Quirino Grandstand. – Photo by GMA Network.

The “traslacion” of the Black Nazarene officially started today, January 9, from the Quirino Grandstand to Quiapo Church with millions of devotees in attendance to mark the feast of the miraculous patron.

The centuries-old ebony statue of Jesus Christ was placed on the “andas” around 6am. However, the procession started past 8am, two hours late from the original start-time.

The Black Nazarene is set to move to Katigbak Drive from the Quirino Grandstand.

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle led the Morning Prayer before the crowd of faithful devotees wearing maroon and yellow shirts.

The Black Nazarene was brought to Manila by Augustinian priests in 1607. History reveals that the statue got burnt following a fire incident that hit the Spanish galleon carrying it.

PNP secures “traslacion”

Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II said that at least 3,500 policemen were deployed for the celebration of the Black Nazarene feast.

“This is the whole of PNP at work. Everyone is contributing to make sure that both petty and high-profile criminals will not take advantage of the celebration,” Roxas said.

He also said that the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) and the Manila Police District (MPD) have been coordinating with each other to ensure peace and order for the yearly “traslacion”.

“Every year, millions of people from all walks of life participate in the festivities and we have to keep them safe from any harm,” he stressed.

The MPD has mobilized a task group responsible for the route security of the motorcade and crowd control and management.

On the same note, anti-crime operations under Oplan Lambat-Sibat have been conducted to avoid criminal activities during the feast.

Both the authorities and the church aim to lessen the number of untoward incident and the number of injuries.

One devotee dies

It has been confirmed by Johhny Yu, the Officer in Charge of the Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO), that a man suffered a fatal heart attack while participating the procession of the Black Nazarene.

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) medic Jeff De Leon tried to revive the devotee, identified as Rodrigo Gorion, when they found him unconscious.

“Wala na siyang malay. Abot kamay na siya ng Nazarene nu’ng matagpuan s’ya,” De Leon said.

The devotee was not immediately carried from the “andas” because of millions of people surrounding the statue.

He was declared dead-on-arrival when brought to the Manila Doctors Hospital at around 9 a.m.