Philippine Red Cross will deploy some 400 PRC personnel, ambulances and other rescue vehicles and equipment to help ensure the safety and well-being of devotees who will be attending and watching the Feast of the Black Nazarene procession or Traslacion 2016.
This year’s Traslacion procession will start at approximately 7:00 in the morning on January 9, Saturday, following the morning prayer at 5:00 in the morning at the Quirino Grandstand. The procession will end when the image of the Black Nazarene arrives at the Quiapo church. Last year’s Traslacion procession lasted for about nineteen hours. This year's expected attendees is estimated at 10 to 15 million people, 5 million more than last year’s estimate of 10 million attendees.
To face the increased challenges and risks of this year’s Traslacion, PRC will be deploying 20 ambulances, 400 personnel, four rescue boats, two Humvees, two 6x6 trucks, one fire truck, one rescue truck and one fire tanker. Thirteen PRC chapters will participate in the Red Cross operations during the event.
“The Feast of the Black Nazarene is a beautiful Filipino tradition that clearly shows the Filipinos’ faith and devotion to our religion and the things that we believe in. This is why we at the Philippine Red Cross never fails to support this tradition by providing medical assistance in our first aid stations and emergency field hospital that will be stationed in key areas around the procession route,” said PRC chairman Richard Gordon.
The PRC will set up 18 first aid ambulance stations throughout the path of the Black Nazarene procession, and an emergency field hospital at the Bonifacio shrine. The first aid ambulance stations will be set up at the following areas: Quirino Grandstand, Museo Pambata, Kalabaw statue in Luneta Park, Katigbak (police station side), 2 first aid stations at the Aquino Monument, Roundtable, National Museum, Bonifacio Monument, Philippine Post Office building, MacArthur Foot Bridge, Escolta St. near Savory restaurant ruins, Santa Cruz Church, Palanca St., Nepomuceno/Tanduay St., Plaza Carmen, Isetann Recto, and 7-11 beside Quiapo Church.
Volunteers and staff of the PRC manning first aid ambulance stations will also be present in key points around the procession route to ensure visibility so that devotees can easily approach them in case they need medical attention or assistance.
Further, PRC Health Service will deploy a basic healthcare unit with provisions for maternal and child care which contain the following: 100 cot beds, two rub halls tent, 26 inter-agency emergency health kits (IEHK), 5 gazebo tents (three 3x3 and two 6x3 ft tents), 2 satellite phones, 10 two-way radios, medical consumables (medical gauzes, syringes, cotton balls, etc.), 5 wheelchairs, 4 oxygen tanks, 3 oxygen concentrator, among others.
Chairman Gordon added that aside from first aid stations, ambulances and other rescue vehicles and equipment of the PRC will be stationed in key areas as well in case of mass casualty incidents.
In line with this, the following hospitals have also agreed to accommodate injured individuals in the event of accidents: Ospital ng Maynila, San Juan de Dios. Philippine General Hospital, Tondo General Hospital, Jose Abad Santos Mother and Child Hospital, Dr. Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center, and Gat Andres Bonifacio Memorial Medical Center.
According to PRC Operation Center’s (OpCen) final report on last year’s Black Nazarene procession, there were two deaths, compared to the zero-casualty conclusion of 2014’s procession. There were also 1,727 devotees who were assisted medically for minor and major injuries, as per the PRC OpCen report.