No fatality in Black Nazarene feast

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Monday, January 10, 2011


ALTHOUGH there was a moderate spike in the number of injured people, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) said authorities and other groups should be commended for achieving a no fatality in Sunday’s Black Nazarene celebration.

PRC secretary general Gwendolyn Pang said 708 people suffered minor injuries such as laceration, abdominal pain, sprain, headache, dizziness, difficulty of breathing, hypertension, and back pain.

The figure also includes the 13 patients it has transported to Ospital ng Maynila, Gat Andres Bonifacio Hospital, Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center and Abad Santos Hospital.

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“The number of injuries rose from last year’s 450 although there was no reported fatality this time. Evidently, everyone has already learned the value of being properly informed,” she told Sun.Star.

Last year, two people died as close to two million slugged it out to go near the dark statue of Jesus Christ.

A total of 250 PRC staff and volunteers with nine ambulances and four service vehicles are deployed in different areas in Metro Manila for the event.

The procession took more than 16 hours to finish as the police declared Sunday’s festivity as generally peaceful.

Some 3,500 policemen and support personnel from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) were deployed to secure the areas along the procession’s path.

‘Trashing’ of Luneta and Quiapo

Despite the lack of public recall on its appeal for a litter-free feast, the Eco Waste Coalition advised devotees not to turn Luneta and Quiapo in Manila into a garbage dump next year.

“Next time, please try not to litter for a more fitting affirmation of our faith,” the group’s president Roy Alvarez said.

For her part, Eileen Sison, non-government representative to the National Solid Waste Management Commission hoped that the country’s “passionate devotion” to the Black Nazarene should be translated into commitments for a clean and safe environment.

Citing reports from its Basura Patrollers, EcoWaste said it was disappointed to see tons of garbage piles as countless believers flocked to Rizal Park and to Quiapo Church to pay respect to the Black Nazarene and present their petitions for good health and fortune.

“From afar, the streets, particularly the street corners and gutters, appear to be white due to a snowstorm that pounded Quiapo,” EcoWaste quoted an unidentified Basura Patroller as saying.

According to City Government data, garbage collection in the Quiapo area rises to 36 tons per day during the two-day fiesta period.

Of this number, 85 percent are reportedly biodegradable like food leftovers and kitchen scraps.

“We’re keeping our fingers crossed that next year’s feast would see the Black Nazarene devotees showing the highest concern and care for the environment that all Filipinos can extol and learn from,” the EcoWaste Coalition said. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)

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