CCPO: 3 million join solemn procession

AN ESTIMATED three million people joined the solemn foot procession for Cebu’s patron, Señor Santo Niño, on Saturday afternoon, January 14, 2023, according to the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO).

The procession kicked off at exactly noon at the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu.

CCPO Director Colonel Ireneo Dalogdog said they already anticipated a lot of devotees to join the activity, which had been suspended for two years due to the Covid-19 virus.

He said the procession was generally peaceful and no major incidents were recorded.

There were reports of people fainting but they were immediately given medical attention by the medical team stationed along the parade route.

More than 1,000 policemen and another 10,000 volunteers from different schools in the city, members of the Cebu City Transportation Office and the reserved force of the Philippine Army were deployed to provide security along the route.

Meanwhile, Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 Director Brigadier General Jerry Bearis ordered police to be on alert for a possible stampede after witnessing through an aerial inspection the thick crowd of people along the procession route.

Bearis thanked his subordinates for executing well the security plan that led to the success of the activity.

“The security preparation collectively introduced by the members of the Task Force was generally implemented resulting in the safe, secured and solemn procession, while minor traffic interruptions were recorded due to rerouting and closure of roads, the transport of vehicles is flowing in major areas,” said Bearis.

“The close devotion of the Cebuanos to the Holy Child equated in cooperation and compliance with the regulations set forth during the activity,” added Bearis.

The PRO 7 director, who witnessed the activity for the first time, said he was surprised by the commitment and devotion shown by the Cebuanos to Señor Sto. Niño.

Grateful

Devotees who attended the solemn foot procession recalled how their devotion to Señor Sto. Niño greatly influenced their lives.

Rodeline Rios, 47, of Barangay Budlaan, narrated how praying to the miraculous child has become her strength every time she encounters problems and how the Sto. Niño always provides them solutions.

Rios said she has been a devotee of the Child Jesus since she was 18.

Fe Laspiñas, 69, of San Isidro, Talisay City, thanked the Sto. Niño for saving her son, who was born with an imperforate anus, a congenital defect in which the opening to the anus is missing or blocked.

She said her devotion to the miraculous child led her son to have a successful operation. He is now a successful seaman working in a crew ship.

“I have been a devotee of Sto. Niño for about 24 years. I will remain a faithful devotee of Him. He made me strong in times of my hardship. He was always there with me,” said Laspiñas.

Rose Apostol, 62, said she is grateful that all her children finished schooling despite struggling finances because of constant prayers to Santo Niño.

She shared how she made an effort to attend the procession despite living far away in Toledo City. Apostol vowed to be a devotee of the Child Jesus until her last breath. (HIC / TPT)