WATCH | Thousands of devotees join procession of Black Nazarene replicas

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MANILA – An estimated 80,000 people were present when the procession of the replicas of the Black Nazarene took place in Quiapo, Manila Sunday afternoon.

Devotees gatherered in front of the St. John the Baptist Church in Quiapo to participate in the procession.

Crowd estimates were as of 2 p.m., Manila Police District spokesperson Supt. Erwin Margarejo said. The crowd estimate reached over a hundred thousand by past 6pm, according to radio reports.

Margarejo added the procession route would cover the entire Quiapo area with the situation still peaceful as of this posting.

Meanwhile, the number of military personnel tasked to secure this year’s “Traslacion” or Black Nazarene Procession in Quiapo, Manila, has climbed to 1,000, doubling the original 500, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) announced late Saturday.

These troops will augment the 5,613 police officers deployed to secure the festivities on January 9.

The soldiers are under the AFP’s Joint Task Force-National Capital Region (JTF-NCR) commanded by Brig. Gen. Alan Arrojado.

Arrojado, in a statement, said that they have activated Joint Task Group (JTF) “Nazareno” to help the police in ensuring the peaceful celebration and conclusion of the “Traslacion”.

“JTG ‘Nazareno’ includes combined personnel from the Army, Air Force, Navy, NOLCOM (Northern Luzon Command), SOLCOM (Southern Luzon Command) and AFP Reserve Command. They will form part of the forces for Security, Medical, K-9, Explosives and Ordnance Disposal, and Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear Explosives (CBRNE) Teams,” he added.

The JTF-NCR chief said these units will be deployed from Quirino Grandstand to St. John the Baptist Church, Quiapo, Manila starting Monday.

“As the Metro Sentinel of the National Seat of Government, the JTF NCR, AFP will actively support the Philippine National Police in ensuring a safe and peaceful celebration of the Feast of the Black Nazarene ‘Traslacion’ 2018. At the same time, our forces will remain alert in thwarting threat groups that may take advantage of the celebration,” he added.