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Gov't defends strict police measures during Traslacion

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Cabinet Secretary Carlo Nograles said the strict security measures enforced by the Philippine National Police (PNP) during this year's Traslacion or the annual procession of the Black Nazarene were "necessary."

Nograles said the PNP personnel were merely doing their mandate to ensure the safety of participants of the annual religious event held on Thursday.

"In terms 'yung doon sa pag-secure kahapon (In terms of ensuring people's security yesterday), these are matters that the PNP deemed necessary for the safety of everybody," he said in a media interview.

"Naging successful naman. Wala namang naging untoward incidents, wala namang untoward deaths. Wala namang nangyari na totally disruptive or the loss of life (It was successful. There are no untoward incidents or deaths). So these are just adjustments that have to be made because the PNP had to fulfill its mandate to secure lahat ng nandoon (devotees)," he added.

An estimated 2.3 million devotees joined the Traslacion, with many hoping to touch the image of the Black Nazarene believed to have healed illnesses and granted prayers.

This year's annual procession took 16 hours, or five hours earlier than last year.

There have been complaints against policemen who manned the procession of the Black Nazarene, claiming that cops shoved devotees while they were trying to go near the carriage of the religious icon.

Earlier, the PNP vowed to investigate the complaints against the police officers.

Nograles apologized on behalf of the deployed police officers during Traslacion, as he acknowledged that many devotees might have been surprised by the PNP's heightened security.

To avoid a repeat of misunderstanding, Nograles said the organizers and the PNP may take several adjustments that will be favorable to millions of devotees participating in the annual procession.

"Humihingi na lang kami ng pasensiya sa ating mga kababayan (We are apologizing to our countrymen)... It's a very challenging thing for the PNP to do. But they needed to put some order to secure our fellow Filipinos there," he said.

"So kaunting pasensiya na lang sa ating mga kababayan pero kailangan talagang gawin kasi kailangan talaga nating ma-secure. These times, you can never be too sure so medyo i-uplift (we somehow have to) security and public safety is our utmost concern," Nograles added.

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