Over 200,000 devotees join Walk with Jesus

Over 200,000 devotees join Walk with Jesus
Photo by Amper Campana

HUNDREDS of thousands of people took part in the Walk with Jesus to mark the beginning of the novena masses in honor of Sto, Niño at dawn on Thursday, January 11, 2024.

The Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CCDRRMO) and the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) estimated the number of attendees to reach more than 200,000.

According to Police Colonel Ireneo Dalogdog, the chief of the CPPO who is also Task Force Sinulog security ground commander, more people participated in the procession this year than in previous years because the lead pack had already arrived at the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño, but the procession's tail was still in front of Police Regional Office 7.

"Sa tan-aw nako no mas daghan karon ikompara sa una kay kaganina 3:30 a.m., palang nakita nato nga napuno na gyud ang Fuente Circle," Dalogdog said.

(In my observation, there are more people today than before, because by 3:30 a.m., the Fuente Circle was already full with people).

The Walk with Jesus started at 4 a.m. from the Fuente Osmeña to the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño, where the start of nine-day Masses was held at 5:15 a.m.

Tight security was in place for the occasion, with at least 1,335 members of the Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Bureau of Fire Protection, Coast Guard, Cebu City Transportation, and CCDRRMO stationed along Osmeña Boulevard, the procession's route.

Dalogdog reported that the activity proceeded without incident and that no crimes were reported.

Dalogdog said at least 141 police and K9 units were deployed inside and outside the Pilgrim Center to ensure the safety of devotees.

It was noted on Thursday, though, that some devotees had difficulty passing through some areas on Osmeña Blvd., particularly the road in front of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, with one lane rendered impassable due to ongoing Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project construction.

Shewie Quiros, a resident from Barangay Lahug, woke up early to join the walk. She said this year's walk was different because there was a smaller crowd unlike last year when a throng of people covered the entire Fuente Osmeña Circle.

"Lahi ra gyud ikompara nimo sa last year og karon (It was different from last year’s)," said Quiros.

Quiros said the weather Thursday was great.

The Fiesta Señor celebration will run until January 26.

The Sinulog 2024 Grand Festival will be held on January 21. (AYB, RJM, TPT)

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