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1,200 MMDA men deployed for Black Nazarene procession

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will position 1,200 personnel around Quirino Grandstand, Quiapo Church and along the route of the annual Black Nazarene procession to help manage traffic flow and ensure the safety of millions of devotees expected to join the annual festivity.

Tim Orbos, MMDA officer in charge, said fielding of personnel will start on Saturday, January 7, to assist public safety, and emergency response operations of the city government and other government agencies.

Orbos said the agency will put up its emergency response tent at the Quirino Grandstand as early as Saturday.

“Plastic barriers for the queue to the traditional Pahalik will also be set up on January 7. It was successful in ensuring orderliness last year, so we are doing it again this time, with some improvements.”

Ambulances and other road emergency vehicles, traffic mobile patrol cars, tugboats, mobile surveillance and communications units, and all other necessary equipment and vehicles will also be dispatched.

The MMDA contingent will come from the Traffic Discipline Office, Road Emergency Group, Public Safety Division, Sidewalk Clearing Operations Group, and the Metro Parkways Clearing Group, which will conduct a massive cleanup on the procession routes right after the procession passed through.

Expecting a huge crowd of devotees to join the procession, Orbos advised the motoring public to avoid Manila area as several roads will be temporarily closed to traffic for the procession.

On January 9, the MMDA said the route of the grand procession will start at Quirino Grandstand and end in Quiapo church.

After the event, street sweepers and clearing group members will also be deployed to immediately clean and clear the roads of all types of clutter. (Anna Liza Villas-Alavaren)