The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) on Thursday said it will probe incidents of devotees who were injured due to the implementation of new security measures in this year’s traslacion or procession of the Black Nazarene.
“Kung gusto nilang (devotees) magreklamo (If they want to file complaints), we are willing to investigate. Kami rin may mga nasaktan din na pulis. Okay lang sa amin yun (Some of our police officers were also hurt. That is okay with us). That’s part of our job and we are happy to serve the people,” NCRPO acting chief, Brig. Gen. Debold Sinas, told reporters in an interview in the vicinity of Quiapo church.
Sinas said the security plan during the traslacion was adopted from the same set-up done during the Black Nazarene’s thanksgiving procession on Dec. 30, 2019 where “there were no devotees at the front” of the image.
Sinas said no devotee was allowed to climb in front of the andas (carriage) to keep the procession moving.
Sinas also apologized to devotees who were injured during the procession of the image of the Black Nazarene. He also thanked those who followed their stricter security measures.
“Sa mga deboto, kanya kanyang paniwala tayo. Ang akin lang is salamat po dahil karamihan sa inyo ay pinagbigyan kami. Yung improvement natin. Yung mga nasaktan pasensya na po. Yung mga naapakan pasensya na. Kasi kung hindi kayo pasaway hindi kayo maaapakan (To the devotees, we all have our own beliefs. As for me, we thank you because many of them gave us a chance. I’m speaking of the improvement. For those hurt, we are sorry for that. For those who were stepped on, we are sorry too. They would not be stepped on if they were not stubborn),” said Sinas.
Earlier reports said measures to contain the crowd resulted in injuries where police officers allegedly sprayed an unknown substance towards devotees who attempted to break the human barricade they formed.
Meanwhile, some reported injuries were caused by combat shoes of police officers.
Sinas said the combat shoes are part of the police officers’ uniform.
“Part of our uniform yung combat boots. Hindi naman pwedeng iba yung kasi magagalit din yung OIC (PNP officer-in-charge Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa) natin. Maski mga ganitong activity tamang bihis pa rin kami [Combat shoes are part of our uniform. We could not wear another type of shoes because our OIC may get angry. Even in this type of activity, we should wear uniform properly],” Sinas said.
The Philippine National Police (PNP), meanwhile, said injuries from the cops’ footwear were unintentional.
“If indeed the combat shoes of cops caused it, it was unintended. (However), PNP will look into this reported injuries sustained by some devotees,” PNP spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac, said in a statement.
In general, the PNP said this year’s feast is peaceful and orderly.
This year’s theme is “Iba’t-ibang Kaloob, Isang Debosyon, Tungo sa Isang Misyon.”
The organizers said they expect to exceed the number of devotees last year which is over four million. (PNA)