Traslacion 2017: No crime incident, few devotee injuries, better post-event cleanup

Manila Police District (MPD) director, Chief Supt. Joel Coronel, said Tuesday that no death and no crime incident has so far been reported during Monday's Black Nazarene procession.

"We have injuries but only minor ones," said Coronel, the ground commander of the 6,000-strong contingent that secured the religious event. Last year, two deaths were recorded.

According to the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), as of 9 p.m. Monday night, 1,339 devotees suffered a spike in blood pressure, dizziness, bruises, contusions and other minor injuries during the 22-hour long procession. It said only seven suffered "major" injuries. A pregnant woman was also rushed to the hospital after she felt dizzy while three other women devotees suffered bone fractures after falling from the carriage carrying the image of the Black Nazarene.

Meanwhile, head of Task Force Manila Cleanup, Che Borromeo, lamented that despite repeated appeals for a "trash-less" Traslacion, the estimated 3.5 million devotees who participated in the procession left 12 truckloads or 69.43 tons of garbage on Monday, compared to 34.86 tons on Jan. 9 last year. The trash were mostly plastic water bottles, styrofoam food containers and utensils, plastic cups, cigarette butts, wrappers, plastic bags, newspapers, and carton boxes.

From Saturday to Tuesday morning, the task force collected 65 truckloads or 341.29 tons of waste, compared to 172.29 tons in the same three-and-a-half-day period last year, Borromeo added.

Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada deployed 600 street sweepers from the task force and the city's Department of Public Services (DPS) to clean at the tail end of the procession as it wound its way back to Quiapo Church.

"They followed the procession, from start to finish, cleaning up and collecting garbage along the way," Estrada said, commending them for their hard work.

Borromeo noted that the city's brand new street sweeper truck also saw action for the first time on Monday, helping the cleaning task force. "The sweeper truck, the first in Manila, made our work easier. It picked up the tiniest trash and debris we could not get with our lowly 'walis tingting'," he said.

With four rotating brushes and high pressure water sprays, the specialized vehicle sucks in dirt, garbage, and debris like a 500-ml. water bottle with ease, he said, adding that the chamber where the collected debris is stored is as big as a medium-sized garbage truck.

"The truck has the capability to collect a truckload of garbage from the streets. It cleans the streets and at the same time collects garbage," Borromeo added.

The city hall official further said that they also stationed four dump trucks in strategic locations to store waste collected by pushcart-equipped street sweepers.

"Since our big trucks cannot penetrate narrow streets, we simply positioned them in several locations," Borromeo said.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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