The Manila Police District hopes the procession of the image of the Black Nazarene will wrap up by midnight, earlier than its arrival time last year.
“Hopefully by midnight matapos itong Traslacion without any critical incident happening,” said Manila Police District Chief Superintendent Joel Coronel.
Last year’s foot procession ended with the arrival of the image of the Black Nazarene at the Quiapo Church a few minutes past 3 a.m., finishing a 22-hour activity attended by over a million people.
For his part, Philippine National Police Chief Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa said the Traslacion situation was “so far, so good,” and gave the conduct of the procession and police performance a “9.95” rating.
“So far, so good, wala tayong nakitang problema, very smooth yung takbo at may mga revisions lang na ginawa,” he said, referring to the barring of Black Nazarene replicas from meeting the procession body, which previously further slowed its pace.
The procession was “expectedly” shorter because of the close coordination of the route, the said prohibition for replicas to meet the oncoming crowd, and the cooperation of the public, said Coronel.
The Manila police chief also said that only the main roads occupied by the procession route—Quezon Boulevard, MacArthur Bridge, some parts of Taft Avenue, and the inner roads of Sta. Cruz—will remain closed until the end of the annual tradition.
He said the rest of the roads previously closed, including Roxas Boulevard, the other parts of Taft Avenue, Kalaw Street and España going to Blumentritt, are now passable.
As of 6 p.m., 4.5 million people have gathered at the Quiapo area and its surrounding roads, police estimates said.
Coronel also said that 2.6 million people have joined the procession body as of 4 p.m.—a figure almost twice as big as the previous year’s procession crowd count of 1.4 million.