Manila to impose gun ban for 2018 Black Nazarene feast

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Nineteen million people are expected to celebrate the Feast of the Black Nazarene in Manila next week.

The grand procession of the Black Nazarene is scheduled to start at 5am from the Quirino Grandstand en route to the Quiapo Church.

Around 380,000 people were in the Manila procession, according to estimates by the police.

Over 600 devotees, including some members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) joined the first procession of the Black Nazarene organized by the Police Regional Office (PRO) 1 on Tuesday afternoon here.

The official also said that Estrada suspended work at the city hall except the department directly involved in the event. A girl carries a miniature image of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, Manila.

In a frenzied display of religious fervour, men, women and children climbed over heads and shoulders and flung themselves at the centuries-old Black Nazarene that they say performs miracles.

In 2006, a male devotee died after a wooden plank covering a manhole collapsed.

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Security, provided by about 10,000 policemen and soldiers, was tight throughout the procession route, including the decision to ban mobile phone services in the Quiapo area for the procession. It will cover a 500-metre radius from the procession route, the Quirino Grandstand and Quiapo Church.

Estrada said he "can only encourage the national government offices and the private office of Manila to exercise prudence and sound discretion in suspending work for the safety and welfare of their employees and personnel".

Traslacion is the commemoration of the transfer of the image of the Black Nazarene from its original home in Intramuros to the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene Church in Quiapo on January 9.

Guide to the "traslacion" procession.

Badong said last year's processon took 21 hours. After setting off at dawn, it arrived at the city's Quiapo Church in the early evening, after stopping at 12 prayer stations en route.

"We hope that the procession would be shorter this year".

Explaining the strong Filipino devotion, Monsignor Sabino Vengco, a prominent Catholic priest, told CNN Philippines: "People will suffer sickness, old pain and suffering will always be there", he said.