PREPARATIONS of the City Government of San Fernando for the observance of this year’s “Maleldo,” a holy week re-enactment of Jesus Christ’s passion, are almost complete.
In an interview during the committee’s site ocular inspection at San Pedro Cutud on Thursday, April 4, Maleldo 2019 Chairperson Robbie Hizon stated that about 85 percent of all measures were already accomplished, with arrangements on the site now underway.
Hizon said that preparations from the program up to the security are going smoothly, with the full cooperation of concerned individuals and groups from participating barangays, City Government, and private sectors.
“Inumpisahan natin yung meetings sa pag-eevaluate ng mga naging problema last year at yung mga paraan para ma-improve this year. Paiigtingin ng City Government yung assistance natin sa host barangays, kasama ng private sector and nakikita natin yung full cooperation nila (We have started meetings to evaluate last year’s problems and find out measures to address them and improve this year’s observance. The City Government, together with the private sector, will strengthen its assistance to host barangays and we see their full cooperation),” he said.
For this year, four barangays will be hosting the crucifixion rites, including San Pedro, Sta. Lucia, San Juan, and San Nicolas, and according to the chairperson, the security measures have been enforced on these villages since March through the Philippine National Police (PNP) and barangay personnel.
“Pinakiusapan natin yung PNP at yung participating barangays na mag-monitor na ng sitwasyon sa mga barangay noon pang March habang sila ay naghahanda dahil priority natin yung security ng mga lalahok at local and foreign visitors (We asked the PNP and participating barangays since March while they were preparing to monitor the situation as security of participants and foreign visitors is top priority),” he said.
The committee also revealed that in 2018, around 15,000 tourists flocked to San Pedro Cutud to witness the crucifixion rites and for this year, it said the number of spectators may still vary.
It also assured the public of the tight security in the mentioned sites through the assistance of PNP, Philippine Army, City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, City Public Order and Safety Coordinating Office, and other supporting forces.
A solemn, peaceful ‘Maleldo’ 2019
Hizon remarked that “Maleldo” is not just an ordinary event but an observance that requires a solemn participation from the spectators.
“Itong Maleldo, ang nais natin dito ay maipakita sa mga tao, lalo na sa kabataan, yung istorya nang pagkamatay ni Hesu Kristo kaya nananawagan tayo sa mga manonood na alalahanin yung pinaka-mensahe nito (Through Maleldo, we want to show people, especially the young, the story of the death of Jesus Christ and remember its message),” he said.
Ben Kristo of San Pedro village, or Ruben Enaje in real life, will still be portraying Jesus Christ in the coming observance, marking his 33rd year of his “panata” or vow of sacrifice.
Enaje, who has been vocal about his “panata,” said his way of being grateful to Christ for saving him from an accident in 1985, expressed that he is just waiting for the organizers to acquire a new penitent to replace him from his role, as he also considers retiring for some health reasons.
Meanwhile, as of Thursday, the committee has not yet reported the final number of penitents who will participate in the “Via Crusis” and in the crucifixion rites as the process got stricter, requiring the interested penitents to undergo medical evaluation under the City Health Office.
The re-enactment of Christ’s crucifixion that is practiced each year in the city originated in 1955 with the staging of “Via Crusis” (Way of the Cross). The actual crucifixion was held in 1962. (PR)