Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Procession of the Black Nazarene
The U.S. Embassy in Manila will have a delayed opening at 10 am on Tuesday, January 9, due to the Procession of the Black Nazarene, one of the largest religious gatherings in the Philippines. The Manila City government has declared this day a local holiday with all city offices and schools closed.
Crowds will start gathering in the Rizal Park area on January 8, and on January 9, the procession will proceed to the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene church in Manila City, approximately 4.5 miles total distance. The procession is expected to last approximately 12-22 hours due to the immense crowds along the route. Vehicular traffic in downtown Manila is expected to be heavy as people assemble to participate in the event, and during the event itself. Road closures and substantial pedestrian and vehicular traffic along Roxas Boulevard and adjacent major thoroughfares are expected.
The Philippine National Police have advised that all cell phone coverage will be jammed in the vicinity of areas along the route of the procession, and to expect cell phone disruptions throughout Metro Manila. A 48-hour gun ban measure will take effect in Manila from Sunday, January 8 to Tuesday, January 10 as an added security measure. All civilian permits to carry firearms outside of residences will be suspended in the city from Sunday, 8:00 am to Tuesday, 8:00 am. Only the military, police, and law enforcement officials on duty and in uniform are authorized to carry arms. The Manila Police District will conduct random, metro-wide checkpoints starting TODAY, in preparation for the religious event.
The Embassy reminds U.S. citizens of the importance of taking preventive measures to ensure their safety and security while traveling and residing in the Philippines and recommends exercising caution in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations. Remain aware of your surroundings and monitor local news stations for updates. The Department of State Worldwide Caution, dated December 6, 2017, indicates there is an ongoing threat of terrorist actions and violence against U.S. citizens and interests abroad, including the Philippines. Extremists increasingly aim to assault “soft” targets such as high-profile public events (sporting contests, political rallies, demonstrations, holiday events, celebratory gatherings, etc.), hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, parks, shopping malls and markets, tourism infrastructure, public transportation systems, and airports.
If you are a U.S. citizen in an emergency, you may contact the Embassy at +(63) (2) 301-2000, ext. 0 during the Embassy’s closure.
For further information:
- See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Philippines Country Specific Information.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Contact the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines located at 1201 Roxas Boulevard at +(63) (2) 301-2000, ext. 2246, 7:30 am to 4:00 pm. Monday through Friday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +63-2-301-2000, ext. 0.
- Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
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