By Robert B. Roque, Jr.
To many devotees, a procession of the Feast of the Black Nazarene done in an orderly fashion is easier said than done.
Every year on January 9 (today), it is a common sight to see a sea of barefoot devotees in maroon and yellow shirts pushing one other and throwing towels to wipe the statue of the Nazarene believed to hold miraculous powers.
The parade would usually take more than 20 hours, passing through the narrow streets from Luneta all around Quiapo until it returns to the Church where it has been housed for decades.
This year, Monsignor Hernando Coronel, the rector of the Quiapo Church, urged the devotees of the Nazarene to commemorate the procession with as little waste as possible. Previous celebrations saw the mushrooming of litter across the city.
Devotees were told to avoid drinking products in single-use plastics and dispose of their trash properly to be responsible followers of Jesus Christ.
Meanwhile, organizers were advised to refrain from using plastic wreaths for decoration along the procession route to avoid adding to the waste.
The Eco Waste Coalition, citing data from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), said last year’s event and the 21-hour procession generated 47 truckloads of trash equivalent to 160 tons.
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The question is, can an orderly procession for the Black Nazarene be done this time? To some, it remains a dead dream because the entire event is an expression of faith, which is difficult to manage.
The Philippine National Police (PNP), however, showed that coping with the problem can be attainable when lawmen helped direct the flow of the annual Thanksgiving Procession of the Black Nazarene last December 31.
For everyone’s information, the procession begins with the Novena that leads to the annual Traslacion.
In the procession, cops surrounded the image as it went through the streets, and people were prevented from coming near it. The result: the procession time was shorter than the usual.
We have nothing against people expressing their faith in such events like this, but sometimes a little discipline can smoothen the flow of the program.
Can the police be the smooth operator again and achieve the same today? Let’s wait and see.