MANILA— More than 200 people have so far suffered injuries as the Black Nazarene procession started at 5:30 a.m. Monday in the capital city.
As of midnight, more than 200 people have suffered minor injuries during the traditional “Pahalik” and during the start of the procession, according to Johnny Yu, head of the Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDDRMO).
These include three women devotees who fell and nearly got trampled to death as they attempted to climb the “Andas” or the carriage carrying the image of the Black Nazarene. They suffered bone fractures and contusions, Yu said.
“So far, we have no untoward incident. We have about 200 injuries but almost all are only minor,” the MDRRMO chief said.
Seven devotees were also rushed to the Ospital ng Maynila when steel railings fell on them.
The Philippine Red Cross, on the other hand, reported that it has attended to 108 medical emergencies that included 19 minor wounds and 46 devotees who suffered high blood pressure as of 9 a.m.
Meanwhile, the Manila Police District-Explosive Ordnance Division (MPD-EOD) at 7:30 a.m. on Monday, responded to a bomb alert at Plaza Sta. Cruz where a suspicious messenger bag was abandoned in front of the Sta. Cruz Church along Ronquillo St.
Authorities sealed off the area for about 20 minutes and checked the bag, which was later found to be containing a Black Nazarene shirt and some personal belongings.
The area, part of the Traslacion route, was reopened at 8:30 a.m.
The MPD also arrested a “suspicious-looking suspect” who was carrying a bag containing a set of keys, different identification cards, and dozens of compact discs (CDs).
The yet unidentified man is being interrogated at the MPD headquarters, reports said.