MANILA, Philippines — (UPDATE – 12:58 a.m.) Emergency workers hurriedly transported injured devotees of the Black Nazarene on stretchers to stations where they were given first aid but, as of late Tuesday morning, January 9, no one had been reported seriously hurt during this year’s Traslacion although a few were being monitored for possible fractures.
Some five hours after the procession that will return the revered icon of the suffering Christ to the Quiapo church, expected by early Wednesday morning, the andas, or carriage bearing the Nazarene, was in the vicinity of the Bonifacio Shrine in Lawton.
Most of the patients suffered dizziness or high blood pressure, or passed out because of the press of the devotees seeking to approach and touch or wipe with towels the icon, which is believed to be miraculous.
Others suffered foot and leg injuries.
A few were taken to hospitals for further observation.
Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority said it has provided medical assistance to 334 devotees from Sunday to Tuesday morning.
The MMDA Road Emergency Group, which set up tents at the Quirino Grandstand, treated 238 hypertension cases, 82 people suffering various ailments, 10 injuries, and four pregnant women.
The Road Emergency Group has installed tents at the Quirino Grandstand to provide medical assistance for the devotees who participated in the ‘Pahalik’ and ‘Traslacion’ of the image of the Black Nazarene.
The agency has deployed some 1,300 personnel since January 5 for this year’s Traslacion to help with crowd control, first aid and route clearing.
JV Oconer suffered a toe injury when he was stepped on by a devotee who leaped down from the andas.
Another injured devotee, Christian Lapetillo, needed stitches to a leg wound he suffered when he was thrown into an open ditch as he descended from the carriage after wiping the Nazarene with his towel.
Despite his experience, Christian, who has been joining the Traslacion for more than 15 years hoping for healing for his ailing father, said, “Kahit dito na po ako mamatay … mas maganda na po ‘yun (Even if I die here … that would be a good thing).”
“‘Yung tatay ko po gusto ko talagang gumaling, na mapunas lang ‘tong bimpo sa kanyang katawan (I really want my father to heal, to wipe this towel on his body),” he said.
The yearly Traslacion commemorates the transfer of the Black Nazarene from Intramuros to Quiapo. (with a report from Philippine News Agency)