TRASLACION. Police officers form a cordon around the replica of the Black Nazarene during the traslacion around the Cagayan de Oro City downtown area on Tuesday, Jan. 9. Police put the estimate of those who joined the traslacion at 200,000 persons. Right, carrying their statues of the Black Nazarene, devotees dance to show their devotion during the traslacion.
By GERRY LEE GORIT
CAGAYAN de Oro City—Amid terror threat, police said some 200,000 devotees from attending the “Traslacion” of the Black Nazarene in the city. The police did not report of any disruption during the holy event.
The traslacion, which originated at the St. Augustine Metropolitan Cathedral and ended up at the Black Nazarene Shrine, was uneventful and the devotees who joined the two-kilometer procession were behaved, said Chief Insp. Mardy Hortillosa, spokesperson of the Cagayan de Oro City Police Office (Cocpo).
Hortillosa said more than a thousand police officers and soldiers were deployed to secure the areas where the statue of the Black Nazarene, a replica which was given to a church here in 2009 that started the devotion of the patron saint outside Metro Manila, was to pass through.
Police were able to reprimand several violators, including those wearing ball caps, jackets and those bringing backpacks and large bags around the St. Augustine Cathedral and on Velez Street, where the statue passed through.
Dozens of police officers also acted as cordon to the Black Nazarene statue during the traslacion.
The presence of law enforcers during the activity, Hortillosa said, was the factor why people had complied with the police advisory.
The deployment of police to cordon the statue was based on the experience of the traslacion in Manila where chaos ensued when devotees try to climb the “carroza” (cart) as the icon is escorted only by the Hijos de Nazareno, a group of male volunteers tasked with taking care of the Black Nazareno.
“With the uniformed police personnel surrounding the Black Nazarene, people who want to disrupt the traslacion like climbing on the carroza will think twice before doing it,” Hortillosa said.
He said the regional and city police offices are on level 3 alert as authorities are verifying the veracity of the report that extremists are planning to attack the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan as retaliation for their defeat in the Marawi siege.
But, he added, the threat did not deter the Roman Catholic Church from holding the traslacion as law enforcement agencies are working to ensure that no untoward incident will occur during the feast of the Black Nazarene.
Hortillosa said the city police have been on high alert since martial law was extended and that status will remain until it is lifted.
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