NAGA City Mayor Nelson Legacion has issued strict guidelines to participants of this year’s Penarancia fiests to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The order is included in the memorandum on Peñafrancia fiesta restrictions which Legacion has issued amd will be implemented until Sept. 21.
Legacion said under Inter-agency task force on emerging infectious diseases (IATF) Resolution No. 65, local executives may restrict the entry of residents and visitors as a deterrent against the spread of the killer virus during the Peñafrancia fiesta.
Police Col. Errol Garchitorena Jr., deputy police chief for operations of the Naga City police office, said the memorandum order orders PNP personnel manning border control checkpoints, the public safety office (PSO) and security volunteers to implement the restrictions at city boundaries and adjacent borders with other municipalities.
Visitors from outside Naga City and other parts of the country are required to present a valid travel authority from the place of origin; an updated health and medical certificate that they are COVID free; and a letter of acceptance from the city government.
Garchitorena added that those from neighboring municipalities with urgent businesses, emergency, or employment in this city will be allowed to enter, upon presentation of company IDs, or employment certification. Also allowed to pass border checkpoints are transport, cargoes transporting essentials, medicines, food products, agriculture, livestock and marine products.
Non-essential trips, big delegations of pilgrims, tourists, crowds of fiesta goers will not be allowed entry. Caceres Archbishop Rolando Octavus Tria Tirona earlier appealed to other dioceses and parishes in Bicol as well as other regions, to celebrate the Marian devotion in their respective homes and parishes.
Devotees called, “voyadores” or the bearers of Our Lady of Peñafrancia made a penitential walk covering nearly three kilometers from the Peñafrancia Basilica Minore in Bgy. Balatas to the Naga Metropolitan Cathedral.
This as the religious rites of the “Peñafrancia Festivity2020” had been cancelled as early as June. The announcement was made by Caceres Archbishop Rolando Octavus Tria Tirona and Legacion.
The “voyadores” traced the traditional passage way of the “Traslacion” (the transfer of the image of Our Lady of Peñafrancia from the Basilica to the Metropolitan Cathedral), which started the 10-day religious festivity. The festival ends Sept. 20.
Wearing headbands with “Viva La Virgen!” printed on the strip of cloth tied on their foreheads, the “voyadores” joined other devotees for a high-mass at the patio of the Naga Metropolitan Cathedral on Friday, Sept. 11.
The traditional fluvial procession of the Peñafrancia festivity held at the Naga River for the return of the Marian image to her home at the Basilica Minore at barangay Balatas here, has also been cancelled for this year.
With the Marian devotion of the Bicol patroness now on its 310th year of commemoration since the devotion started in 1710, the non-festive celebration this year is being observed as part of strict health protocols required by IATF against the spread of COVID-19.