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Estimated Nazareno 2024 crowd lower than pre-COVID-19 record so far —NCRPO

The estimated number of crowds in the activities for the Feast of the Black Nazarene is still lower compared to the figures recorded before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the police on Friday.

“The crowd were noticed to be still way below the figures during the pre-COVID-19 Black Nazarene Feast despite of the relaxed restrictions now,” National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Police Brigadier General Melencio Nartatez Jr. told GMA News Online in a message.

Nartatez made the statement after he conducted an onsite visit around Quiapo Church on Thursday.

“Crowd/participants estimate yesterday, January 4, 2024, was pegged at about 15,000 (first day of blessing of replicas was 10,000, January 3, 2024),” he said.

“The activities last December 30, 2023 (Thanksgiving Procession covering the Traslacion 40% route) [were] very peaceful and orderly participated [in] by about 25,000 Black Nazarene fanatics,” he added.

Despite the lower number of participants compared to the pre-pandemic period, Nartatez said the police will still ensure a “safe, orderly, and secured” Traslacion, which will be held on Tuesday, January 9.

“Containment rings/chokepoints/checkpoints are established already to deny entry of contrabands and criminal elements,” he said.

“We'll have lockdown areas. Inner ring portion shall be closed to vendors, parking, vehicles, carrying of bags, bottles, no wearing of hoods and head caps, no raincoats, no umbrellas, etc. during the January 9 festivities,” he added.

GMA News Research data showed that from 2016 to 2020, the crowd estimates during Traslacion were around 1.5 million to 3.1 million.

According to the Philippine National Police (PNP), it has not monitored any serious and credible threats for the conduct of Traslacion.

One of the activities in Black Nazarene feast, Traslacion is the procession of a 400-year-old black image of Jesus Christ from Quirino Grandstand to Quiapo Church.

The traditional Traslacion was not held in the past three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. —VAL, GMA Integrated News