MANILA - About 10,000 buses and 2,400 vans carrying Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) members are expected to flock to the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan on July 27, Sunday, for the celebration of the religious bloc's centennial.
Speaking to radio dzMM on Saturday, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Francis Tolentino said INC delegates from Metro Manila, Bicol, Southern Tagalog, Northern Luzon, and Visayas are expected to fill the arena.
Tolentino is appealing to the public who are not members of the INC to avoid passing through the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) starting July 26 until 28 to give way to the heavy influx of delegates from different parts of the country.
The NLEX runs from Balintawak, Quezon City to Sta. Ines, Pampanga.
"Hindi po biro yung 10,000 bus na pupunta," said Tolentino, who heads Task Force Sentenaryo, which is in charge of all actions in connection with the INC's centennial celebration.
"Kung maaari po sana yung papunta ng norte na gagamitin ninyo Mindanao Avenue, Balintawak-NLEX, papunta kayo ng Clark, Subic, Baguio, Pangasinan, huwag na po muna kayong pumunta," he said.
"Yung manggagaling naman po ng norte papunta ng Maynila, huwag din po muna kayong pumunta kung hindi importante," he added.
According to Tolentino, the mayors of Bulacan are also appealing to truckers to temporarily suspend their deliveries on the day of the INC's celebration so as not to worsen the traffic situation.
"Hilingin sa mga truckers association, haulers na nagbibiyahe mula norte papunta ng Maynila na magkaroon muna ng slowdown... Nakikiusap sila pati ang ating mga kapulisan sa Bulacan na dahan-dahan muna sa delivery dahil yung McArthur Highway-NLEX sigurado pong puno ito," he said.
"Sana po maunawaan natin dahil minsan lang po ito mangyari sa 100 taon," Tolentino said.
The MMDA chief said about 2,500 police personnel from Region 3 and 2,000 more from Metro Manila will be deployed to ensure the security of INC delegates.
He said a mobile hospital will be set up in Bulacan to assist the delegates as well as commuters in any case of emergency.
Several command posts will also be put up, he added.
Tolentino said there will be designated parking areas for the INC delegates around the arena. He said they will release maps on Sunday to help guide motorists on the routes.