50,000 join Black Nazarene procession in CDO

A devotee throws handerchiefs to their owners after wiping these on the statue of the Black Nazarene during the procession in Cagayan de Oro City Monday Jan. 9, 2012. Owning a handkerchief that has come in contact with the statue during the feast is said to bring good luck and protection to the handkerchief owner. MindaNews photo by Erwin MascarinasCAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/10 January) – Unlike the one in Manila where hundreds were reported injured, the Black Nazarene procession here Monday turned out orderly despite the throng of 50,000 devotees who attended.

Msgr. Rey Manuel Monsanto, parish priest of the Jesus Nazareno Parish, noted that the unusual big number of people who joined the procession is attributed to the recent flood that wrought havoc to the city.

The aftermath of Typhoon Sendong, he said, also made this year’s celebration “more significant.”

“The people of the city has learned to pull themselves together. They did not lose hope and are thankful for the new life and the chance to have survived the recent tragedy that struck Cagayan de Oro and Iligan,” Monsanto added.

The city police force fielded 500 of its personnel – including members of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) and Explosive and Ordnance Division (EOD) – to secure the festivity. Additional 200 personnel from the Regional Public Safety Battalion and 150 trainees from the Police Regional Training School augmented the regular police force.

Senior Supt. Gerardo Rosales, director of the Cagayan de Oro City Police Office who personally joined the entire length of the procession, said that his troops covered every street corner along the procession’s path, assuring Kagayanons that “we are 100-percent ready for any situation that may arise.”

The procession started around 3 p.m. at Kulambog in Lapasan Highway and ended almost 9 p.m., culminating at the Jesus Nazareno Parish. (Erwin Mascariñas / MindaNews)