Environmentalists and local leaders from communities surrounding the Quiapo Church, the home of the venerated image of the Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno (NPJN), have appealed to all devotees and visitors to work for a “ maroon and green” fiesta.
Maroon is associated with the garments of the Black Nazarene, while green is linked with the environment, explained Tin Vergara, Zero Waste Campaigner of the EcoWaste Coalition.
In a joint press release with barangay leaders in time for the start of the nine-day novena to the NPJN today December 31 until January 8, the EcoWaste Coalition drew the attention of the public regarding the power of combining faith with action to protect the environment.
“Combining our people’s amazing devotion to the Black Nazarene with action respecting, nurturing and defending Mother Earth will be a powerful force of hope and deliverance against those who trash and ruin the environment,” said Vergara.
“If the millions of devotees who come to Quiapo will simply not litter and avoid waste in all its forms, we’ll have a feast that is pleasing to the eyes and pleasing to the Lord,” she said.
Local barangay leaders aired the same appeal to the huge crowds of devotees and visitors who will throng to Quiapo in the days leading to the re-enactment of Traslacion (the transfer of the image of the Black Nazarene from Luneta to Quiapo) on January 9.
“We call on everyone, particularly the devotees, not to leave any garbage behind as they pay their respects to the Black Nazarene and seek His guidance and blessing,” said Joey Uy Jamisola, Chairman of Barangay 306, Zone 30.
For Mariano “Boy Bata” Gopaco, Jr., Chairman of Barangay 307, Zone 30, “the cooperation of government and church authorities, residents, visitors, vendors and others is vital to ensuring a clean and safe fiesta.”
“Keeping Quiapo streets tidy should be everyone’s responsibility. Please do not think that it’s alright to litter because someone else will pick it up for you,” said Reynaldo Moises, Chairman of Barangay 308, Zone 30.
Among the most littered items in past fiestas include cigarette butts, candy and snack wrappers, plastic bags, cups, bottles and straws, Styrofoam containers and bamboo skewers that often cause injuries among barefoot devotees.