The conduct of this year’s Traslacion on Saturday was generally peaceful, said Manila Mayor Isko Moreno and the Manila police chief, noting that minimum health protocols were mostly observed amid the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
Brig. Gen. Leo Francisco, Manila Police District (MPD) Director, said around 500,000 devotees flocked to the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, Sta. Cruz Church, San Sebastian Church, and several areas in the city that broadcasted the masses live on LED billboards.
Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso thanked the authorities and the public for the “successful and orderly” conduct of the feast of the Black Nazarene.
General Francisco said no crime or emergency incidents were reported during the event.
“Tayo ay masayang ibabalita sa ating mga mamamayan na naging matahimik, wala pong nangyari ni isang insidente, wala po nangyari ni isang krimen sa ating piyesta ng Nazareno (We are happy to report that the feast of the Black Nazarene was peaceful, not one incident or crime happened),” he said in an interview with DZBB.
The Manila police chief also assured that the wearing of face masks and face shields and physical distancing was enforced among the devotees.
Meanwhile, Mayor Isko Moreno said in his Facebook live broadcast on Saturday: “Ito ay magiging basehan balang araw ng mga susunod na henerasyon kung sakaling, huwag naman sanang loobin ng Diyos, kung sapitin nila ang kasulukuyang sinasapit natin ngayon na kasagsagan ng pandemya (This will be the basis for other generations if, I hope God does not will it, they experience what we are experiencing right now at the height of the pandemic).
Francisco claimed that the photos that showed devotees crowding along Recto Avenue was taken after a fire broke out at the Manila City Jail at around 4:44 a.m. The blaze was quickly put out in a matter of minutes.
“Nagkaroon ng kaguluhan. Pagkatapos po noon, ang ginawa ng Manila Police District (MPD) ay isinaayos ang pila kasi malapit sa underpass na ‘yon ang Manila City Jail at natural lang po na… lahat ay nabigla, pati mga pulis namin, kasi hindi naman kasama sa plano ‘yon. (Chaos ensued. After that, the Manila Police District fixed the lines. Manila City Jail is near that underpass, so it was only natural that everyone was shocked, including our police officers, because that was not part of the plan),” he said.
Earlier, Domagoso took to Facebook to slam politicians and members of the media who allegedly “misled” the public with photos showing devotees crowding together.
“Maraming lumalabas na picture, pinopolitika ‘yung sitwasyon ng pista ng Nazareno, imbis na tayo ay manalig, manalangin, magkaisa, o, ‘yung mga political interests ng ibang politiko, ginagamit ang sitwasyon. (There are many pictures that are being released, they are politicizing the situation of the feast of the Black Nazarene, instead of leaving us to pray and unite, some politicians are using the situation for their political interests),” he said in a separate Facebook live broadcast on Saturday.
The broadcast showed Domagoso at the Manila city government’s command center. Several screens showed devotees observing physical distancing measures in Quiapo and other areas on real time.
“Doon sa mga politikong tolongges, manahimik kayo. Huwag niyong abusuhin ‘yung pananalig ng tao. Unang una, wala na kayong nagawang matino sa pamahalaan at taong-bayan. Kumakapit na lang ang taong-bayan sa panalangin (To the good-for-nothing politicians, shut up. Do not abuse the people’s faith. First of all, you have not done anything good for the government and the public. The people only have prayer to hold on to),” he said.
“May mga media na gusto nilang ipalabas ‘yung problema… walang balita sa maayos. ‘Pag maayos, dapat balita ‘yan (There are members of the media who like to expose problems… there are no reports on order. If this was done in an orderly manner, that should be news),” he added.
“Nasaan po ‘yung 400,000 na sinasabi ng mga report? (Where is the 400,000 being mentioned by the reports)?” he said, referring to the crowd estimate of devotees in the city at Saturday noon that the Manila police chief told reporters.
In line with the Department of Health’s call, Francisco said he would advise any police officer who was on duty during Traslacion to undergo self-quarantine should they feel COVID-19 symptoms.