Duterte appeals for cancelation of all physical activities for Traslacion 2022

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 5) — President Rodrigo Duterte made an appeal to the Philippine Catholic Church to cancel all physical gatherings related to this year’s celebration of the Feast of the Black Nazarene.

Duterte made the statement amid rising COVID-19 cases and the rapid spread of the Omicron variant in the country.

“I am now appealing to you to forego and cancel all physical gatherings including the procession and the celebration of mass... There are millions of devotees there and you cannot just be complacent about the transmission of the disease,” he said in his weekly address aired Tuesday night.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III also made the same appeal, noting that devotees may consider commemorating the occasion at home to prevent further transmission of the COVID-19 virus.

The President apologized, saying he has to make the appeal upon the advice of government officials and health experts.

The annual grand procession called Traslacion usually gathers millions of Filipino devotees who want to participate in the transfer of the venerated image of the Black Nazarene from the Quirino Grandstand to Quiapo Church. However, the COVID-19 pandemic is necessitating a different way to celebrate this revered tradition.

In November 2021, the Manila local government announced the procession will again be postponed in 2022. Instead, other activities like a motorcade in select areas in the city may be conducted.