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‘Traslacion’ gets huge welcome

OVER 6.5 million devotees of the Black Nazarene welcomed the Traslacion, which made a grand comeback after a three-year hiatus in Manila yesterday as Filipinos showcased anew their deep devotion to the iconic centuries-old image of the black Christ.

While the PNP estimated the number of participants who joined the Traslacion at 3.3 million as of 6 p.m. yesterday, the Quiapo Church Command Center estimated the number of devotees who joined the grand procession at 6,532,501 also by 6 p.m.

After starting at 4:45 a.m., the Traslacion ended at 7:44 p.m. when the andas (carriage) bearing the iconic image of the black Christ reached the Quiapo Church.

“Official time 14:59:10… So far, among all the arrivals of the Traslacion, this is the fastest and a new record,” the Quiapo Church said last night.

“We thank our devotees as they followed our appeal for them to stay calm, cooperate, and adhere to our guidelines,” Quiapo Church Rector Fr. Jun Sescon said.

PNP chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr. said the procession was generally peaceful, adding there was no untoward incident reported, except for hundreds of people who sustained injuries or suffered illnesses during the event.

“Yes, peaceful and orderly. Everything went well so far,” Acorda told reporters at the Quiapo Church yesterday afternoon.

The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) reported that 706 devotees sought medical attention after falling ill or sustaining injuries, six of them major cases, as of 8 p.m. yesterday.

The PRC said the major cases included head trauma (swelling), laceration, incision, fainting, severe chest pain, and suspected ankle fracture.

Additionally, 34 other patients were brought to either the PRC Emergency Field Hospital or the Philippine General Hospital suffering from fever, cough, dizziness, body weakness, vomiting, ankle sprain, chest pain, numbness, abdominal pain (pregnant), and second-degree burn.

“Everything went well, according to plan. There was no (untoward) incident reported and we hope this continues,” said Acorda.

He said 13,800 policemen from the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) were deployed to secure the Traslacion, augmented by 4,000 personnel from “other agencies.”

In a press briefing at Camp Crame, PNP spokesman Col. Jean Fajardo said: “Except for minor illnesses and injuries, the Traslacion was generally peaceful so far.”

The PRC said 183 devotees experienced minor health issues such as abrasion, burn, dizziness, puncture, laceration, difficulty in breathing, chest pain, hyperventilation, wound, headache, elevated blood pressure, and infected wound.

The Red Cross said 257 devotees had their vital signs checked.

“The safety of every Filipino who attended this event is our top priority. We mobilized our volunteers to accommodate the medical needs of the devotees,” PRC chief Richard Gordon said in a statement.

Hours earlier, NCRPO chief Maj. Gen. Jose Melencio Nartatez said 3.2 million devotees joined the Traslacion.

“We monitored 3.2 million devotees, starting from the mass at the Quirino grandstand,” Nartatez said in a television interview. (G. Naval, Malaya)


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