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Estrada: Peaceful Traslacion ‘God’s miracle’

Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada yesterday praised security officials, organizers and even devotees for the peaceful observance of the Feast of the Black Nazarene, especially the 22-hour long Traslacion, where no one was reported killed.
Estrada, the designated Hermano Mayor of the Quiapo Fiesta, attributed this to “God’s miracle.”
“It’s a God’s miracle that no one was seriously hurt, no one died. No matter how excellent our preparations are, it is God’s doing that we’re able to hold the Traslacion safely and peacefully,” the Manila mayor pointed out amid threats of violence from various terror groups in Mindanao.
As the Hermano Mayor, Estrada lauded the Manila Police District (MPD), National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), Armed Forces and other government agencies, Church officials, government and private rescue groups, volunteers, and other participants — and even devotees — for their “cooperation and hard work.”
“We’ve been preparing for Traslacion as early as July and I can say this is the product of their hard work and cooperation. Definitely, we will make more improvements next year so we can achieve ‘zero casualty’ again,” Estrada said.
MPD director Brig. Gen. Joel Coronel said no one died during the 22-hour procession which he estimated was attended by up to 3.5 million devotees.
“We have injuries but only minor ones, but the most important is that we have no casualty and that there were no crime incidents reported during the Traslacion,” the MPD chief said as he recalled the two deaths recorded last year.
Coronel served as the ground commander of the 6,000-strong security contingent that secured the venerated religious event.
As of 9 p.m. the other day, a total of 1,339 devotees suffered minor injuries during the 22-hour long procession; only seven injuries were classified as “major” based on reports provided by the Philippine Red Cross.
Most of the injuries were only minor ones, including dizziness, high blood pressure, bruises and contusions. A pregnant woman was also rushed to the ambulance after she felt dizzy while three other women devotees suffered bone fractures after falling from the carriage carrying the image of the Black Nazarene.
Despite repeated appeals for a “trash-less” Traslacion, the sea of devotees that participated in Monday’s Black Nazarene procession left a dozen truckloads of trash, according to Che Borromeo, head of Task Force Manila Cleanup leading the post-Traslacion cleanup.
Borromeo said city hall workers collected a total of 12 truckloads of waste or 69.43 tons of garbage the other day until 9:30 a.m. yesterday, mostly plastic water bottles, styrofor food containers and utensils, plastic cups, cigarette butts, wrappers, plastic bags, newspapers and carton boxes.
Since Saturday, January 7, up to yesterday morning, the Task Force had collected 65 truckloads of garbage or 341.29 tons, as compared to last year’s 172.29 tons, he added.

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