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Special Features | National

TRASLACION 2017: 9 minors reunited with families, 99 devotees treated for wounds, dizziness

A young boy gets a vantage view perched on a devotee's shoulder at midnight mass Sunday at the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta, just hours before this year's Traslacion began at 6a.m. NEIL PORTUGAL, INTERAKSYON.COM
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA - Lost children, people feeling faint, devotees suffering puncture wounds and bruises from falls - these were some of the side stories that marked the 2017 Traslacion, the country's biggest religious procession involving the Black Nazarene of Quiapo, Manila.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development-National Capital Region reunited nine minors with their families from Sunday to Monday morning at the Quirino Grandstand, where the midnight mass, pahalik (kissing of image), and morning prayers were held before sending off the image of the Black Nazarene back to Quiapo Church.

The procession of the image of the Black Nazarene began at around 6:00 a.m. According to the Facebook page of Quiapo Church, its carriage had reached Yuchengco Street as of 1:57 p.m.

According to DSWD-NCR social welfare officer Benjie Barbosa, they were still looking for the family of a three-year-old. The child was with them in their post at the Quirino Grandstand, being looked after by other DSWD-NCR personnel. The child's parents had already been paged ahead of the procession, and they were expected to pick up the child at the tent.

The DSWD-NCR also referred an elderly person to a center for senior citizens, and another to a mental hospital after seeing that s/he was "disturbed".

Barbosa said they began their operations at the Quirino Grandstand on Sunday, and observed fewer missing children compared to last year.

The Metro Manila Development Authority had set up orange road barriers and fences to guide the flow of people who participated in the Pahalik [kissing of the image]. There were also scores of policemen and marshal-devotees who kept them in line.

Barbosa said they were still monitoring the missing, and were coordinating with the Manila social welfare and development office to prepare for any disaster. They were going to stay at the Quirino Grandstand until the procession ended.

Meanwhile, the division area supervisor for emergency preparedness and response at the Quirino Grandstand said that based on the initial - but not official - reports that had been submitted to them, the Manila Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office had handled 75 "minor" medical cases at the Quirino Grandstand as of 7:45 a.m.

Minor cases often involved dizziness, wounds, and injuries. Patients did not have to be transported to hospitals, as the responders could already give first aid.

The Manila DRRMO also had two patients transported to Ospital ng Maynila, and one radio report said one of the patients had a barbecue stick, its pointed end a good one inch long, puncturing his foot.

The Caloocan DRRMO had also transported two patients to the Manila Doctors Hospital and Ospital ng Maynila, respectively, on Sunday night. Their circumstances were not known.

For its part, the MMDA's medical team at the Quirino Grandstand handled 24 minor cases as of 6:00 a.m.

There were no incidents monitored by the Quezon City DRRMO, but 21 devotees had their blood pressure checked.

The 525th Engineer Combat Battalion, the disaster response unit of the Philippine Army, assisted with crowd control on Sunday night, as many devotees struggled to enter the Quirino Grandstand for the Pahalik and the midnight mass.

The division area supervisor for emergency preparedness and response at the Quirino Grandstand, who declined to be named, said they were still consolidating the reports from various response teams. 

He assured the public that resources were in place for emergency preparedness and response. Teams or equipment were sent by or were on standby from the local governments of Quezon City, Caloocan, Pasig, Navotas, Valenzuela, Mandaluyong, Malabon, Las Piñas, Pasay, Taguig, Makati, and Parañaque.

The Department of Public Works and Highways had also sent over a hundred personnel, particularly to evaluate Jones Bridge.