Manila Mayor Isko Moreno announced Wednesday that no form of parades or religious festivities would be allowed in January amid the COVID-19 crisis.
In an interview with Dobol B sa News TV, the mayor asked devotees for understanding, saying he needed to consider their safety from COVID-19.
“Ito po ang posisyon ng siyudad. Ito po ay nakausap na namin ‘yung mga tao sa simbahan. Sinabi namin [na] any form of parade will not be allowed,” Moreno said.
(This is the position of the city. We have already talked to the people in the church. We said [that] any form of parade will not be allowed.)
“Pagpasensiyahan niyo na ako. Patawarin nawa ako ng Diyos pero ang iniisip ko lamang ang kaligtasan niyo,” Mayor Isko added.
(Forgive me. May God forgive me, but all I can think about is your safety.)
Mayor Isko also prohibited the ‘Pahalik’ or the kissing or wiping of the Black Nazarene image next year.
“Let’s be practical about our situation,” he said.
“There is danger. Let’s accept facts. Let’s accept science. Let’s accept reality. Marami pang paraan para mapalapit sa Diyos,” he added.
Mayor Isko cancels parades, religious festivities amid pandemic
“The grand procession of the life-sized image of the Black Nazarene in January 2021 has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic —Manila City gov’t, Quiapo Church,” said Manila Public Information Office in a Facebook post.
The Black Nazarene is a life-sized image of a dark-skinned, kneeling Jesus Christ carrying the Cross enshrined in the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in the Quiapo district the City of Manila, Philippines.
The January 9 Traslación is the largest procession, drawing thousands of devotees thronging to touch the icon and lasting 22 hours at the most.
The Black Nazarene is venerated by Filipino devotees every Friday. Along with the Santo Niño (Child Jesus), it is the most popular object of devotion in the Philippines. A similar image called Cristo Negro is venerated in Portobelo, Panama.