THIS year’s ‘Traslacion’ or the procession of the image of the Black Nazarene, took a total of 22 hours and 19 minutes.
At exactly 3:30 a.m. yesterday, the Black Nazarene was back at the Minor Basilica or more popularly known as the Quiapo Church, marking the end of the religious festivity which began at 5:30 a.m. the other day.
The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) estimated the crowd or devotees that attended at between 2.5 and 3 million.
It was learned that three layers of policemen who served as human barricades at the front vicinity of the Quiapo Church to ensure a swifter passage of the Black Nazarene was rendered useless when they got broken by the crowd surge.
Authorities said the entire activity was generally peaceful. Church authorities, meantime, expressed gratitude to the devotees and those who helped maintain peace and order all throughout the procession.
Meanwhile, at least 65 trucks of garbage were collected throughout the procession route, where personnel from the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) cleaned after, saying they were happy to somehow have a part in the event and could also show their devotion to the Black Nazarene.
On the part of the Philippine National Police, in general, and the NCRPO in particular, the Feast of Black Nazarene was the best ever, which ended literally terror-free, crime-free and death-free amid jitters triggered by reports of a possible terrorist retaliation.
PNP chief Director General Ronald “Bato” M. dela Rosa commended NCRPO chief Director Oscar D. Albayalde and his men as well as their other law enforcement partners and stakeholders who helped them keep the major event as peaceful as possible.
Albayalde said that amid terror jitters, hundreds of thousands of Catholic devotees guided the centuries-old image of the Black Nazarene safely and peacefully back to its home, the Basilica Minore in Quiapo, Manila, before dawn on Tuesday.
A little over three kilometers separated Quirino Grandstand and the historic Quiapo Church but as expected, the snail pace procession kept PNP authorities sleepless and without any rest as they waited for the ‘Andas’ or carriage of the Black Nazarene to enter the church and for the huge crowd to disperse peacefully.
“I would like to express my gratitude to all the help extended to us. Zero-crime incident ang period ng Traslacion,” Albayalde said.
No untoward incident
Albayalde said they recorded no untoward incident during the Traslacion although over 1,000 devotees were treated for various conditions, mostly minor wounds, dizziness, high blood pressure and fainting spells. Some also suffered fractured foot while attempting to climb the ‘Andas’ during the procession.
Unlike in last year’s Traslacion where two deaths were reported, no Traslacion-related death was recorded last Monday.
Security was so tight that police imposed a two-day gun ban in Manila, banned civilians from using drones, cellphone signals were jammed and the public was banned from carrying umbrellas and backpacks which may conceal firearms, explosives and other deadly weapons.
As of 2:30 p.m. Monday, Albayalde placed the number of the Black Nazarene crowd approaching Jones Bridge at 1.4 million with another 22,000 gathered outside Quiapo Church.