Liquor ban starts for Peñafrancia festival

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NAGA CITY, Philippines—A liquor ban will be imposed Friday here with tens of thousands of pilgrims expected to pack the city for the world-renowned feast for the Bicol patroness Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia.

Male pilgrims carry Ina, the patroness’ image, through a 3-kilometer procession that starts from the image’s shrine to the city cathedral.

SPO2 Randy Solano, public information officer of the Naga City police, said the liquor ban would start at midnight of Sept. 12 and end midnight the following day.

Solano said police are expecting at least 500,000 pilgrims to pack the city. Areas between the shrine of Ina and the cathedral would be closed to vehicular traffic starting today until the image had been transferred.

President Benigno Aquino III, on Sept. 10, 2010, issued Executive Order No. 33 declaring Naga City and Camarines Sur as “pilgrimage capital of Bicol.”

The EO discouraged the commercial exploitation of the festival, however.

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