Police report 'peaceful' Black Nazarene feast
Millions of devotees joined this year's Feast of the Black Nazarene on Tuesday and police said the procession from Luneta to Quiapo Church has been peaceful.
According to National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), as of 5 pm, at least 1.5 million have joined the procession.
NCRPO said the spearhead at Arlegui Street is "more or less 720,000" while at the Quiapo Churcg there are around 760,000. "Situation report-peaceful," the NCRPO said.
As part of security measures, cellphone signals were intermittent in the area where the procession will pass.
Around 726 patients were treated by the Philippine Red Cross.
Based on reports, authorities are expecting the image of the Black Nazarene, which is borne on a carriage, to arrive at Quiapo Church by midnight.
The wooden image, which at least 400 years old, is reputed to have miraculous powers. Sick people have been reported to be cured by touching the statue during the procession.
According to Quiapo Church Parochial Vicar Fr. Douglas Badong, they are satisfied how the annual procession started at 5 am Tuesday after the image was transferred from the altar to the "andas ", or wooden base, without any hitches.
"People did not crowd and run towards the image. They instead waited for the carriage to be in position," said Badong.
"That is actually our objective for this year, to have it (image) in the parade ground, then we are okay," he added.
Manila Archbishop Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, in his homily at the midnight mass at the Quirino Grandstand urged Catholics to stop being greedy for power and be humble to serve others, especially those in need.
Present during the midnight mass were Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, his son and former senator Jinggoy Estrada, PNP Director General Ronald dela Rosa, and Metro Manila Development Authority chairman Danny Lim.
Also present was Papal Nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Gabriele Giordano Caccia. Ella Dionisio/DMS