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No classes, office work in Manila on Friday due to Black Nazarene Feast

(Updated 1:50 p.m.) There will be no classes in Manila on Friday, the Feast of the Black Nazarene, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada decreed Monday.

In Executive Order No. 1 for 2015, Estrada said the suspension will cover public and private schools at all levels. 

"Classes for all levels in universities, colleges and schools in the City of Manila (are) suspended 09 January 2015, Friday," Estrada said in his order, which was posted on his Facebook account.
He also said work is suspended in all departments, offices and bureaus in the city government except those involved in:
  • maintenance of peace and order;
  • traffic enforcement;
  • disaster and risk reduction management;
  • health and sanitation; and
  • issuance of business permits and collection of taxes.
But Estrada said the suspension of work in national government offices and private offices in the city "is left to the discretion of their heads of office."
Devotees of the Black Nazarene are expected to flock to Quiapo this week for the yearly feast of their patron, whose image is believed to have miraculous powers.
The image is to be brought to Quirino Grandstand Thursday for an overnight vigil, then returned to Quiapo Church via the yearly procession on Friday.
Manila city government workers have been clearing the area around Quiapo Church of vendors, in time for Friday's festivities.

'Dry run'

Meanwhile, in a separate report on GMA News Tv's "Balitanghali," Estrada said the Black Nazarene Feast will serve as a "dry run" for the upcoming Papal visit from January 15 to 19.
Estrada asked commuters to deviate from passing by the Manila area for two weeks this month, if they have no "essential travel" in the city. 
Aside from security concerns, Estrada said commuters will face a "traffic nightmare" in passing through the major thoroughfares in Manila, namely, Taft Avenue and Roxas Boulevard. — Joel Locsin and Rouchelle Dinglasan/RSJ, GMA News