MANILA, Philippines – Despite constant reminders, devotees who participated in the Traslacion of the Black Nazareno still failed to keep their trash with them.
On Tuesday evening, January 9, Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) collected a total of 15 truckloads of garbage along the route of the procession.
In Quirino Grandstand and Luneta alone, MMDA personnel already collected 5 trucks of garbage left by devotees who camped out days before the procession. (READ: Zero fatalities, hundreds injured in Nazareno 2018)
This figure, however, is relatively low compared to 65 trucks of trash collected in 2017 according to reports.
Collected trash were mostly plastic water bottles, styrofoam food containers, and carton boxes among others.
The EcoWaste Coalition on Saturday, January 6, reminded devotees to keep Rizal Park trash free when thousands gather for the traditional “pahalik” or kissing of the image. (READ: Why teenagers join the Nazareno procession)
“Cleaning up the mess left behind by the devotees can be a grueling task for government workers and for volunteers from various parishes, schools and groups. We, therefore, ask everyone to be considerate, mind your own discards, and assume full responsibility for their ecological management and disposal,” said Daniel Alejandre of the EcoWaste Coalition.
The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) attended to a total of 1,906 devotees with minor and major injuries during the Traslacion.
Of this figure, 7 were immediately transported to nearby hospitals for advanced medical attention. This included a 17-year-old boy with suspected neck and spine injury.
A total of 2,000 Red Cross personnel and volunteers were deployed in key areas along the procession path to ensure visibility so that devotees can easily approach them in case they need medical attention or assistance.
Aside from giving medical assistance, the PRC also assisted 210 people in tracing their missing companions through its Restoring Family Links (RFL) program, and provided psychosocial support.
Manila Police District estimated over 6 million faithfuls joined the 22-hour Traslacion this year. (READ: Simplest of prayers flood Quiapo for Nazareno 2018)
“Based on our initial estimate beginning 4:57 am noong nag-start ‘yung procession (when the procession started) in Quirino Grandstand and ended at 2:59 in the morning today, 6.314 million joined the procession alone,” MPD Director Chief Superintendent Joel Coronel said. (READ: ‘Pahalik’: The less tiring path to a Nazareno prayer come true)
In 2017, MPD noted around 5.4 million devotees joined the Traslacion.
He added that the increase in the number of devotees contributed to the delay of the image reaching Quiapo church. The thick crowds slowed down the carriage (andas) bearing the image as it passed through narrow, winding roads around the Quiapo Church. – with a report from Rambo Talabong/Rappler.com
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