The strict security measures enforced by the Philippine National Police (PNP) during this year’s Traslacion or the annual procession of the Black Nazarene’s image were “necessary,” Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said.

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

“These are matters that the PNP deemed necessary for the safety of everybody.”

“In terms ‘yung doon sa pag-secure (In terms of ensuring people’s security), these are matters that the PNP deemed necessary for the safety of everybody,” the Malacañang official stressed.

“Naging successful naman. Wala namang naging untoward incidents, wala namang untoward deaths. Wala naming 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 fulfil 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 which is believed to have healed illnesses and granted prayers.

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

There have been complaints against police officers who escorted the procession of the Black Nazarene, claiming that they shoved devotees who were trying to go near the andas or the carriage bearing the religious image.

Earlier, the PNP has vowed to investigate the complaints against some 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 tight security.

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

“It’s a very challenging thing for the PNP to do.”

“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,” Nograles 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,” he added.

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