Traslacion 2017: Manila roads cleared, anti-crime ops along procession route

MANILA — All roads where the Black Nazarene procession will pass on Monday should have been cleared of all forms of obstruction and unwanted elements, Mayor Joseph Estrada said Friday.

“We want everyone to be safe. We want the procession to be as hassle-free as possible for the devotees participating in it, and also to lessen the inconvenience of motorists and commuters,” Estrada said.

He said he has ordered the Office of the City Engineer and the Manila Police District (MPD) to conduct massive clearing operations to ensure the smooth flow of the procession and the safety of thousands of devotees.

City Engineer Rogelio Legazpi said the clearing operation, which began last Wednesday and is being carried out by more than 600 men until Sunday (Jan. 8), is mainly focused around the immediate vicinities of Quiapo Church, such as the streets of Villalobos, Carlos Palanca, and Hidalgo, which are expected to be filled with Black Nazarene devotees.

“We asked vendors to get out of the way. We removed and tore down illegal structures that occupy road spaces, and also illegal transport terminals,” Legazpi said.

He added that they are also checking for uncovered manholes and drains and hanging power cables that pose risks to devotees, conducting on-the-spot repairs of unpaved roads, and towing illegally parked vehicles.

For his part, Che Borromeo of Task Force Manila Cleanup said street sweepers will be deployed along the procession route and at the Quirino Grandstand to continuously sweep the streets and remove anything that could hurt the bare-footed devotees.

“Nothing should be left to hurt, disturb or stop the flow of devotees,” Borromeo said.