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Over 700K devotees join Peñafrancia Traslacion procession

By Keren Anne Bernadas

The Naga City Events Protocol and Public Information Office (CEPPIO) estimated that over 700,000 devotees from all over the Bicol region joined the traditional Peñafrancia Traslacion Procession on September 9, two years of COVID-19 pandemic.

The Naga City Joint Operations Task Force for the festival this year asserted security protocols during the month-long celebration.

Last September 7, the augmentation forces of nearly 1,500 police officers from the Police Regional Office 5 and other municipal police stations in Camarines Sur arrived in the city.

Additional 1,000 officers from the Armed Forces of the Philippines were deployed as security units during the procession from the Peñafrancia Shrine to the Metropolitan Cathedral.

After rigid preparations of the security cluster months before the anticipated religious tradition in Bicol, Police Lt. Col. Errol Garchitorena, deputy city director for operations of the Naga City Police Office said that the Andas of Divino Rostro ‘would be impenetrable by unruly voyadores.

“One of the things that may fall short was the character or attitude of the voyadores. The church and the city government have long announced a solemn celebration. If it has been understood, it should have been made solemn,” Garchitorena said.

The police officer said that they respect those male devotees whose vow made them participate in the procession “but if using force to hurt security forces just to touch the image as they too are humans doing their job shall be avoided.”

Despite attempts to penetrate security personnel, Garchitorena assessed a ‘smooth-sailing’ traslacion of the Peñafrancia and Divino Rostro image.

With the recent events, authorities are now discussing necessary adjustments for the upcoming fluvial procession on September 16 to avoid disorder during the sacred event. (PIA5/Camarines Sur)


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