No drones, cellphone signals during 2017 Nazarene procession

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 04 2017 01:35 PM

MANILA – Cellphone signals will be jammed and drones will be banned during the Traslacion or procession of the Black Nazarene in Manila this Monday, January 9, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said.

The AFP adopted the measure amid fears of a terror attack during the procession, which is expected to draw millions of Filipino Catholics, and following waves of bombing in populous areas across the globe.

The decision to jam cellphone signals also comes in the wake of a bomb scare that gripped an area near the US Embassy along Roxas Boulevard last November.

The Quiapo Church, Quirino Grandstand and the route of the procession will also be declared no-fly zones.

In 2012, cellphone signals were also jammed along the route of the procession after then President Benigno Aquino III warned of a possible terror attack.

Officials of the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene earlier said around 15 million to 18 million guests and devotees are expected to flock to Quiapo Church from December 31 to January 10, 2017.

Last year, police said about 1.5 million people took part in the seven-kilometer (4.5-mile) parade, which runs from the park to the icon's home inside the downtown Quiapo church.

Crowned with thorns and bearing a cross, the Nazarene statue was brought to Manila by Augustinian priests in 1607, early on in Spain's 400-year colonial rule.

It is believed by some to have been partially burnt and blackened when the galleon carrying it caught fire on a voyage from Mexico, another Spanish colony at the time. - report from Raphael Bosano, ABS-CBN News; with Agence France Presse