All roads lead to Iglesia centennial fest; traffic stands still | Inquirer News

All roads lead to Iglesia centennial fest; traffic stands still

Traffic is expected to come to a virtual standstill on Sunday (today) on all roads leading to Philippine Arena in Bocaue town, Bulacan province, the main site of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) centennial celebration, where an estimated 3 million of the church’s members are expected to congregate.

As early as 7 a.m. on Saturday, traffic was already building up on MacArthur Highway, Valenzuela City, as vehicles from different parts of Metro Manila—largely bound for the INC event—were on the city’s major road, presumably to escape the heavier flow of traffic Sunday.

Valenzuela City chief of police Senior Supt. Rhoderick Armamento said that around 8 a.m., 37 buses that shuttled people from Rizal to Malanday caused major traffic buildup. As of 5 p.m., he said 169 buses and public utility jeepneys were headed from the city to Bocaue.


Armamento said authorities were expecting around 1,000 buses to be shuttling people from Marilao town to Valenzuela City and back until Sunday.


Saturday evening, the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) traffic system noted heavy traffic in Marilao and Bocaue and along the southbound lane of Mindanao Avenue right after the Bocaue toll plaza as a result of the influx of vehicles heading for Philippine Arena.

Heavy traffic was also noted on the northbound lane from Valenzuela City, all the way to Bocaue. Moderate to heavy traffic was also observed along C5 southbound lane from Tandang Sora to Xavierville and along McArthur Highway.

Grand showcase

INC spokesperson Edwil Zabala told Agence France-Presse that “the pace of the spread of Iglesia … has exploded,” during a tour of the City of Victory complex, which houses the 55,000-seat indoor stadium, to promote the centenary.

The INC event will showcase the religion’s success here and abroad in the giant complex especially built for the occasion.

To control the expected vehicular congestion today, traffic management officer Maj. Artemio Delina said the traffic enforcers would be deployed 24/7.


Valenzuela City public information officer Ahna Mejia said the city did not make any major preparation for the INC event, but the local traffic management in cooperation with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will be on the alert and on standby in case of a heavy downpour.

As this developed, the MMDA warned motorists of heavy traffic along roads leading to Bulacan, especially NLEx.

In an advisory, the MMDA advised the public to avoid using the roads designated as parking areas. Instead they can use inner or secondary roads, especially in Santa Maria, Plaridel, Bocaue and Calumpit towns.

Iglesia Ni Cristo’s Philippine Arena, billed as the “world’s largest indoor arena”. EDWIN BACASMAS

To avoid the Santa Maria bypass road, which is expected to have thousands of parked vehicles during the grand event, the MMDA said motorists could take the Santa Maria-San Jose Road heading to Manga.

Old Cagayan Valley Road and Malolos Plaridel Road, on the other hand, can be used to avoid traffic along Doña Remedios Trinidad Highway.

The MMDA said motorists planning to take the MacArthur Highway could instead use the Landicho-Sandico Road in Marilao, which leads to Saluysoy Road-Hulo Banga Road in Meycauayan town.

Parking space

The public was also reminded that the stretch of MacArthur Highway from Calumpit to Valenzuela City will be used as parking area of the INC members coming from different parts of the country, designated by region, as follows:

Cordillera Autonomous Region:

From Calumpit to Malolos

Region 3: From Malolos to Tabang, Bulacan

Metro Manila East (NCR): From Guiguinto town, Bulacan, to Tabang

Region 1: From Bocaue to Guiguinto

Metro Manila West (NCR): From Bocaue to Marilao (both sides)

Contributions from Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) built this 55,000-seat Philippine Arena, touted to be the world’s biggest indoor arena. MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

Region 2: From Bocaue to Marilao (both sides)

Metro Manila North (NCR): From Marilao to Valenzuela City (both sides)

The shoulder lanes of Doña Remedios Trinidad Highway will also be used as parking spaces from Tabang to San Rafael town, Bulacan, by attendees coming from Region 5 and NCR (Quezon City). Those coming from Region 4 will park their cars and buses from Balagtas to Bustos in Bulacan.

The Santa Maria Bypass Road from Santa Maria to Norzagaray town, Bulacan, will be occupied by Metro Manila Central and Visayas Region attendees. The Mindanao Avenue Extension to Smart Connect Interchange will also be used by buses coming from Metro Manila South.

Motorists were earlier warned by the MMDA to avoid the southbound and northbound lanes of NLEx from July 26 to 28, since an estimated 10,000 buses and 2,500 private cars are expected to flock to the area surrounding the Arena.

In case of heavy traffic along NLEx, the MMDA said a “zipper lane” could be utilized by northbound vehicles to counterflow on the opposite lane.

Mobile advisory

An Android application called the INC Sentenaryo was launched by the agency to update the public of the traffic situation along affected roads.

Meanwhile, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board has imposed a three-day (July 26-28) truck ban on a portion of NLEx and several roads leading to Bulacan.

Trucks will not be allowed to pass through NLEx from Balintawak toll gate to Angeles City Exit in Pampanga province and vice versa. These vehicles are also prohibited from  MacArthur Highway, Cagayan Valley Road, from Santa Rita Exit and all provincial roads in Bulacan designated as parking areas. Trucks carrying perishable goods are exempted from the ban.

MMDA chair Francis Tolentino said necessary traffic and security measures had been finalized to ensure peace and order during the event. An MMDA Joint Command Center has been set up in Marilao to monitor traffic along major thoroughfares and is on standby for any emergencies.

Tolentino also gave his final instructions yesterday morning to the 2,000-strong Metro Manila Public Safety Legion, which was deployed to Bocaue to keep peace and order, implement a comprehensive traffic management plan and do a postactivity cleanup at the site.

Based on the monitoring of the command center, some of the event’s attendees had already arrived at the venue as early as yesterday morning and more were coming by the hour.  With a report from AFP


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TAGS: INC, Tandang Sora

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