RAIN failed to dampen the spirits of devotees and pilgrims who participated in the traditional solemn procession yesterday.
One of the participants, 36-year-old Maritess Romero, brought her six-month-old daughter.
She claimed the Sto. Niño saved her from a difficult pregnancy. After praying to the Sto. Niño, she had a normal delivery.
As a result, Romero vowed to bring her daughter to the procession every year.
“It was a promise I made to the Sto. Niño and I couldn't break it,” she said in Cebuano.
The crowd following the carroza of the image of the Sto. Niño continued to grow as it traveled along the 5.7-kilometer procession route.
From the basilica, the procession proceeded to Osmeña Blvd., Fuente Osmeña, Gen. Maxilom Ave., New Imus Road, M. J. Cuenco Ave. before turning to Urdaneta St. and back to the basilica.
The procession lasted more than four hours.
Meanwhile, Senior Supt. Rey Lyndon Lawas, deputy director for operations of the Police Regional Office 7, said that they deployed a total of 5,000 personnel to secure the route.
Some 800,00 to 900,000 people joined the solemn procession, according to Area Supervisor Supt. Ryan Devaras's estimates.
Except for an alarm about a suspicious-looking person walking around Colon St., the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) noted that there was no untoward incident that happened after the arrival of the images of the Sto. Niño and Our Lady of Guadalupe from the Ouano wharf in Mandaue City to Pier 1 up until the solemn procession yesterday afternoon.
CCPO Director Joel Doria said that they deployed 371 police personnel, 16 mobile patrols, 949 additional augmentation and 219 soldiers to secure the fluvial procession once it arrived in Cebu City.
He added that a platoon of Special Action Force was also deployed in strategic areas to secure the event.