January 4, 2017
MMDA Bolsters Black Nazarene Preps, Special Pasig River Ferry And Gwapotel Feast Services
To provide an alternate mode of transportation for the numerous devotees expected to join the Feast of the Black Nazarene procession in Manila, the Pasig River Ferry System will extend its operating hours on January 9, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) announced today.
At least two ferry boats will also be on standby near Jones Bridge to respond to emergency situations, the MMDA said.
During the special run of the ferry service, the first trip from Guadalupe to Escolta will start at 5:30 a.m. The last trips from Escolta to Guadalupe station will be at 7 p.m., the agency added.
Apart from the ferry boats’ extended operating hours, Gwapotel, a budget hotel managed by MMDA, will also be offering a 20 percent discount to all Black Nazarene devotees going to the establishment, starting January 7 until January 9.
Meanwhile, to ensure a peaceful and orderly celebration of the Feast of the Black Nazarene on January 9, Monday, MMDA General Manager Tim Orbos said the agency will deploy more than 1,200 personnel for the festivities, starting January 7.
He said beginning Saturday, a total of 1,245 MMDA personnel will be deployed around Quirino Grandstand, Quiapo Church, and along the procession routes to help in traffic management, 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.
The MMDA official advised the motoring public to avoid Manila as much as possible because several roads will have to be temporarily closed to traffic for the procession.