Police: Oro's Black Nazarene procession peaceful, organized

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Friday, January 10, 2014


UNLIKE the chaotic scenario in Manila where tens of thousands of devotees flocked to join this year’s commemoration of the feast of the Black Nazarene highlighted by a procession Thursday, the city’s version of the celebration was peaceful and organized, according to a police official.

Senior inspector Evan Viñas, Agora police station chief, said despite the magnitude of people who participated in the annual procession of the statue of the Black Nazarene, there was no report of any untoward incident.

Viñas estimated that around 10,000 joined the Black Nazarene traslacion (procession) in the city.

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Viñas said there were no reported incidents of injuries or persons passing out due to heat or with the number of people.

“The weather also cooperated,” she added.

Aside from the visibility of police officers on the route of the procession, teams were also on standby in various first-aid stations for possible emergencies.

Those who did not participate in the procession waited for hours in the areas where the traslacion passed. They only threw their hankies, towels or cloths to the hijos who served as support to the Black Nazarene. After the hijos wiped the cloths to the statue, they threw them back to the owners who stood by the roadside.

Clogged traffic

Viñas said their only concern was the traffic condition along Osmeña and Gaabucayan streets, which were clogged for hours due to the procession.

Viñas said they had no control over the situation as the routes were filled by thousands of devotees and stranded motorists and PUJ passengers who patiently waited for their chance to escape from the traffic.

Jazzy Bitco was on board her motorcycle when caught up by the procession that stranded her for almost two hours along Gaabucayan Street.

Bitco said she was unaware of the procession and regretted why she passed by the area.

If only she was informed, Bitco could have used a different route.

Meanwhile, first-time devotee Nonoy Abrio who came all the way from Pagadian, shared his experience.

Abrio said that he became a devotee of the Black Nazarene because he was convinced upon seeing on television the multitude of people who joined in the yearly the procession.

Abrio said he may not experience a miracle yet, but he intends to make this a yearly devotion and come to the city to join this religious activity.

Most of the devotees did not mind the long route of the procession believing it is part of the sacrifice for the Black Nazarene after they’ve experienced miracles.

One of them, Irene Bunting from Lapasan, has been a devotee of the Black Nazarene for ten years now because she was healed of her ailment that even doctors failed to cure.

Bunting said after she prayed at the Jesus Nazareno church, the following day she claimed she was completely healed of her illness.

From that day on, Bunting said she never ceased to thank God through the Black Nazarene.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on January 10, 2014.

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