No casualties in 'peaceful' Traslacion, police say

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Over 700 devotees sought medical assistance during the procession, as reported by the Philippine Red Cross by 1 p.m. today. Photo by JILSON TIU

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 10) — The recent procession of the image of the Black Nazarene or Traslacion was "better" and more "peaceful" compared to previous years, the police said. 

C/Supt. Guillermo Eleazar, National Capital Regional Police Office Chief, said his personnel were prepared for the event. For 2019, there were 846 reported injuries, on top of least 714 patients who sought medical assistance.According to police records, there were no deaths or untoward incidents during the procession. 

"We (expected) na mas magiging handa tayo [We expected to be more ready]. I believe that based on our assessment, it's better than before ngayon [now]," Eleazar told reporters.  

He added that around 7,200 police personnel were deployed to sustain the crowd. He commended the troops' efforts, adding that they will create a technical working group to evaluate the Traslacion.  

"Andito ang kapulisan more than one day na walang palitan ng uniporme, walang tulugan, walang pahinga. I would like to commend ang ating kapulisan at pati na din ang mga media na sumasama sa atin," Eleazar added.  

[Translation: The police were here for more than one day without changing from their uniforms, sleeping or resting. I would like to commend our police and media who participated with us.]  

Manila Police District Director S/Supt. Vicente Danao Jr. echoed the chief's sentiments, saying the procession was "peaceful." He said only one petty crime was reported during the procession and the suspect has already been apprehended. 

"It was very peaceful. So far we only recorded one pickpocket incident and the suspect was duly apprehended," Danao told CNN Philippines' New Day.   

 

The procession lasted for almost 21 hours, 40 minutes shorter than the Traslacion in 2018. It began at 5 a.m. on Wednesday and ended at 2:21 a.m., Thursday. Danao attributed the improved travel time to the smooth turnover of the image from the police to the volunteers.  

"One of the reasons siguro yung nakita natin diyan is during the take off ng ating image, initially kasi ang naghihila diyan is yung ating mga kasundaluhan and then included po yung ating mga kapulisan, then it was properly turned over sa ating mga [naghihila] na volunteers," he said.

[Translation: One of the reasons probably is during the take off, initially the soldiers and the police pull the image, then it was properly turned over to the volunteers.]  

He added that the travel time from the starting point of the procession to beyond the Manila Hotel was cut short from four hours to one hour and thirty minutes.  

Meanwhile, the Philippine Red Cross reported that as of 7 a.m., 1,613 patients sought treatment for various medical emergencies. Of this number, 62 devotees suffered from major cases such as difficulty of breathing, laceration, dizziness, body weakness, blunt trauma and deformity. Four were transported to the hospital due to hypertension, fractures, deformity and chest pain while 603 patients suffered from minor cases such as fainting, sprains, burns, muscle spasms, bruises, laceration, etc.

Seven hundred forty seven patients had their blood pressure monitored and 197 devotees sought psychosocial support.  

The procession began from the Quirino Grandstand in Manila City to the Quiapo Church, covering a six kilometer long route.

The police said a total of four million people took part in the Black Nazarene festivities leading up to the Traslacion, among them the thanksgiving mass and Pahalik. Of this number, 2.5 million people directly took part in the procession.