THE procession of the Black Nazarene from the Quirino Grandstand to the Quiapo Church is moving “smoothly and fast” compared to the previous year, a police official said Tuesday, January 9.
"Ang paglabas po ng Nazareno dito sa Quirino Grandstand ay medyo may kabilisan at in order. From Quirino Grandstand to the first segment ng Roxas Boulevard, P. Burgos is maayos naman po naitawid ang Nazareno " Superintendent Emerey Abating, commander of the Manila Police District (MPD) Station 5 in Luneta, said.
"We're happy na everything went smoothly and nagkaron ng minimal injuries pero na-treat naman po lahat," he added.
Abating said the smooth flow and the peacefulness of the event can be attributed to the preparations made particularly by the police and the church’s administration to ensure the success and security of the feast.
"Ang target talaga namin is from 'pahalik' hanggang sa paglabas ng Nazareno, 'yun po ang gusto naming mangyari na 'pag naayos namin yung paglabas ng Nazareno, it's a good sign for us na magiging maayos yung prusisyon ng Nazareno," he said.
The official said police forces were strategically deployed. Those assigned to man the vicinity of the Quirino Grandstand where the kissing of the patron occurred since yesterday and those assigned to secure the Mass held before the procession were being reassigned to other areas as the Traslacion progresses.
Abating said with the movement of the procession, they are expecting the image of the Black Nazarene to reach the Quiapo Church before midnight.
The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) said over 5,000 police officials were deployed to ensure the peace and order of the annual event that attracts millions of devotees.
As of 11 a.m., the front of the procession has reached the Jones Bridge in Manila, with more or less 274,000 people.
Meantime, the Philippine Red Cross said that as of 11:30 a.m., 621 patients have been attended to including 232 who experienced high blood pressure, 237 who suffered from minor injuries such as abrasions, lacerations, vomiting, body and abdominal pain, fever, dizziness, sprain and toothache while 22 others obtained major injuries such as bone fracture.
In 2017, the religious activity lasted a total of 22 hours and 19 minutes. (SunStar Philippines)