Oro police ready for Feast of Black Nazarene

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013


ABOUT 400 policemen and 100 traffic enforcers will be deployed to ensure public safety during the Feast of the Black Nazarene in Cagayan de Oro today (January 9), an event to be attended by almost 80,000 devotees.

Superintendent Antonio Montalba said earlier that apart from 400 Cagayan de Oro City Police Office (Cocpo) personnel and 100 traffic enforcers, barangay police and officials will also be utilized.

Police visibility, crowd control, traffic management and security in the area where the procession of the Black Nazarene will be held will be among the security measures to be implemented Wednesday.

“These personnel will be deployed after lunch since the procession will start at 3 p.m.,” Montalba added.

He also emphasized that vehicles coming from Macabalan and Puntod will be temporarily held as the procession starts, but drivers may use the Puntod-Kauswagan bridge as their alternative route.

Although authorities see no threats from terror groups during the feast, police officials likewise reminded devotees to refrain from bringing their children to the procession and to also refrain from wearing expensive jewelry and accessories.

Meanwhile, Monsignor Rey Manuel Monsanto, parish priest of Jesus Nazareno Parish Church, urged all those who will join today’s long procession not to throw their garbage along the streets.

“Let us all have a garbage-free procession,” he said.

In an article posted on Catholic online, an environmental watchdog also urged devotees to become “more environmentally sensitive while celebrating the feast of the Black Nazarene by not polluting the surroundings with garbage.”

EcoWaste Coaliton, in a statement, urged not only the devotees but also vendors and food and beverages providers to take the lead in keeping the solemn occasion free of trash.

“Keeping the surroundings garbage-free is not only a civic duty, but an act of worship and devotion as well,” Tin Vergara of the coalition said.

The feast and the procession of the Black Nazarene in Cagayan de Oro attract more and more devotees from all over Mindanao and the Visayas.

Monsignor Monsanto said based on his observation, there is a trend of increasing number of devotees following the procession and attending vigil and masses since 2010 when the Black Nazarene’s replica first arrived in the city.

Monsanto said 40,000 devotees joined the procession last year and the possibility of having more people today is not far from reality, “though it may be too much to say to have the numbers doubled.”

“I really would not know how many will come today especially those who will join the procession,” Monsanto told Sun.Star.

Wednesday’s celebration of the Feast of Jesus of Nazarene will start with a 6 a.m. Mass, followed by the concelebrated Mass at 7:30 a.m.

“Masses will be held in one and a half hour intervals starting 6:00 am until 6:00 in the evening,” Monsanto added.

“As we celebrate His feast, may He continue to accompany us in the many trials and sufferings we each go through and help us carry our daily cross,” Monsanto said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on January 09, 2013.

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