Police: Walk with Mary peaceful, orderly

THE Penitential Walk with Mary dawn of Friday, January 13, turned out to be peaceful and orderly.

Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) Chief Colonel Ireneo Dalogdog said that based on the crowd estimate by the city’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, between 350,000 and 400,000 devotees joined the procession that started at 2 a.m. from the Guadalupe church in Barangay Guadalupe to the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu.

The police described this year’s activity as having a huge number of attendees as the six-lane highway from the Capitol to the downtown area, where the Sto. Niño church is situated, was occupied with devotees, who were enthusiastic to join the religious event after two years of being postponed due to coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

“Kung i-compare nako ni sa Walk with Jesus, mas daghan karon base sa atong observation,” Dalogdog said.

(Compared with the Walk with Jesus, there are a lot of participants now based on our observation.)

The police did not encounter any problem in providing security during the walk, except for the crowd control.

Dalogdog said that when they arrived inside the basilica with Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, they noticed a thick crowd that would put people in danger in case of a stampede.

Because of this, the police and Rama asked the Augustinian friars to open the doors at the back of the church so that people can go out.

“Iyang gi suggest dili siya i-padlock kay kung dunay mga kagubot, mag panic ang mga tawo dili sila makagawas. Karon ang among gihimo amo nang gihangyo ang management sa Basilica nga dili lang sirad-an nya naay police nga magbantay,” Dalogdog said, referring to the mayor.

(He suggested that it should not be padlocked because people could not go out if there are troubles. What we are doing is asking the management of the Basilica not to close it as it will be guarded by the police.)

No criminal incident has been recorded by the police during the entire proceedings from 2 a.m. until the end of the Mass past 5 a.m.

Dalogdog said that around 1,200 security personnel from the CCPO, Cebu City Transportation Office, and City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office were deployed during the walk.

During the solemn foot procession on Saturday, January 14, Dalogdog said around 12,000 security personnel will be deployed in the streets from noon to nightfall, aside from the more than 10,000 students from various schools tasked to control the crowd. (AYB/TPT)