CITY OF NAGA – Drunk and unruly “voyadores” on Friday engaged in fistfights as over half a million pilgrims, devotees and spectators joined the four-kilometer “Traslacion” of the Our Lady of Peñafrancia in this city.
The religious rites ushered in the beginning of the week-long Peñafrancia festivities in this city, which is now in its 309th year of Marian devotion.
City police director Col. Felix Servita Jr. said despite the rumble, the event was generally peaceful.
He said there was a significant increase in the number of devotees and pilgrims who attended last Friday’s “Traslacion” procession.
Some 3,000 members of the police, military, Army reservists, members of the Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine Navy and Police Explosives and Ordinance Division operatives provided security to the occasion.
According to Servita, the drunk and rude “voyadores” who engaged in fistfights and rumbles mostly came from the neighboring towns of Naga.
An intoxicated “voyadores” got involved in a fistfight with local boys in Bgy. Dayangdang, this city.
Some “voyadores” of Confradia de San Jose wearing yellow t-shirts engaged in a brawl with “voyadores” in red t-shirts in Peñafrancia Ave. during the “Traslacion” rites.
Fellow “voyadores” pacified the fighting groups.
Police SMsg. Tobias Bongon, spokesperson of the Naga City Police Office, said some drunk “voyadores” from the neighboring municipalities joined the procession despite the implementation of the liquor ban.
Bongon said PNP chief General Oscar Albayalde had approved an 11-day gun ban for the Peñafrancia festivity from Sept. 12 to 23.
Cellphone signals were shut down during the procession as an anti-terrorist precaution as recommended by the Philippine National Police.
The “Traslacion” procession ended at 6 p.m. on Friday at the Naga City Metropolitan Cathedral, where a concelebrated mass was officiated by Nueva Caceres Archbishop Msgr. Rolando Tria Octavus Tirona.