2018 Traslacion 'generally peaceful' says Metro Manila police chief

Bianca Dava, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 10 2018 03:12 PM

Catholic devotees try to climb the carriage of the Black Nazarene during the day-long procession at Roxas Boulevard, Manila, Philippines, January 9, 2018. Dondi Tawatao, Reuters

MANILA- The 22-hour Traslacion of the Black Nazarene this year was "generally peaceful" despite one recorded death, Metro Manila police chief Director Oscar Albayalde said Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters in Camp Crame, Albayalde said no major untoward incidents and violations were recorded by the police during the procession.

"It has been generally peaceful until the Black Nazarene was home," he said.

Over 7.6 million devotees were estimated to have joined the procession which began 6 a.m. Tuesday at the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta and ended at the Quiapo Church around 3 a.m. Wednesday.

Data from the Philippine Red Cross showed that fewer devotees needed medical assistance this year compared to last year.

Red Cross volunteers attended to a total of 1,906 devotees this year, lower than the 2,566 recorded in 2017. Most of the devotees experienced spikes in their blood pressure and minor injuries.

One devotee died after suffering from a heart attack upon touching the image of the Black Nazarene. He died at the hospital.

Albayalde said the fatality was a member of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology. 

"Hindi naman siya sa Traslacion namatay. He is a member of the BJMP, SJO4 Ramil dela Cruz. Inatake siya, dinala sa ospital at doon namatay sa Jose Reyes [Memorial Medical Center]," Albayalde said.

(He did not die during the Traslacion. He had a heart attack, was brought to the hospital and passed away at the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center.)

The Metro Manila police chief added that the shutdown of cellphone signals during the procession would become part of the Philippine National Police's annual security measures for the Traslacion.

"...Magiging future template na ito sa security. Most probably, taon-taon na gagawin ito, at least minus one problem na," he explained.

"There's still a lot to improve with regards to security. Probably we can improve sa communication lalo na sa radio," he added.

Millions of Filipino devotees flock to Quiapo every January 9 to join the annual Traslacion in the belief that the centuries-old image of Christ has miraculous powers.