Metro Manila Police Chief Guillermo Eleazar said the Traslacion during the Feast of the Black Nazarene in Manila this year was peaceful with zero-crime incidents.
“No untoward incident. There were no casualties except there were 740 devotees who had minor injuries and were provided medical assistance,” Eleazar said.
“It was better than before but we would like to improve it more next year.”
The procession lasted for about 21 hours and seven minutes on the 6.15-kilometer procession route. The Black Nazarene’s carriage reached Quiapo Church around 2:08 a.m. on Thursday.
“We are not really concerned about the travel time because our consideration is the peace and order situation,” Eleazar said.
“Everything went well because all concerned agencies did their respective jobs.”
But the estimated 1.4 million who attended the annual religious event left tons of garbage, which drew the ire of environmental health activists.
Members of the Ecowaste Coalition Group said tons of garbage messed up the Luneta Park and the processional route for the “Nth Time.”
Urine-filled plastic bottles, yucky diapers, mucky wipes, makeshift beddings, food containers and leftovers, spoiled pancit, cup noodles, instant coffee sachets, cigarette filters and lots of things plastic from carry bags to cutlery were some of the abandoned garbage found during and after the Traslacion.
Ecowaste volunteers also took part in the cleanup of Rizal Park shortly after the image of the Black Nazarene left the Quirino Grandstand for the six-kilometer procession.
“Our public appeal for a trash-less Traslacion has again fallen on deaf ears. Many people unashamedly threw their garbage anywhere, turning the parade ground fronting the Quirino Grandstand into a dumping ground,” said Daniel Alejandre, Ecowaste zero waste campaigner.
The group earlier urged the devotees, describing them as “stewards of God’s Creation,” to take full responsibility for their discards and not rely on other people to clean up after them.
“Families and friends who flocked to the park and even set up tents for the overnight vigil left piles of rubbish behind just like in previous years. There were many urine-filled PET bottles lying on the ground,” Alejandre said.
At the Quiapo district, the garbage situation was similarly dreadful with litter scattered all over the place, Ecowaste said.
The group’s volunteers reported rampant disposal of foam food containers in street corners and gutters and in places where exhausted devotees hanged out to eat and rest.
“Despite the painstaking efforts of street sweepers to pick up after the devotees, rubbish can be spotted everywhere! Old habits die hard,” Alejandre said.
“People seem to have no qualms about littering, a prohibited act under local and national environmental laws that is more often disregarded than enforced. Littering, especially in godly activities, is totally unacceptable. Devotion should not lead to pollution.”