MANILA — Devotees of the Black Nazarene flocked to this year’s “Traslacion” with the hope that their devotion to the cross-bearing Christ would not only free their families of diseases but also put an end to the scourge of vigilante killings that have plagued the country over the last six months.
Melissa Abuedo, 30, joined for the first time on Monday as the Black Nazarene headed back to Quiapo Church from the Quirino Grandstand, praying that the image many believe to possess miraculous powers would relieve her of the cough and flu she has been enduring for weeks.
And as if to prove the wonders of the centuries-old image, the barefooted Abuedo told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that she already felt better after getting hold of the rope attached to the Black Nazarene’s carriage as it made its way to the Manila City Hall shortly before noon on Monday.
But apart from her well-being, Abuedo expressed hope that the Black Nazarene would prove instrumental in ending the vigilante killings that have hit the country since the Duterte administration launched in July its bloody and brutal war on the illegal narcotics trade.
“I pray that the killings will stop because some are killed because of mistaken identity and many innocent lives end up as collateral damage,” Abuedo said in Filipino, as she recalled that she has already lost neighbors who had earlier turned themselves in to the police as part of the anti-drug campaign “Oplan Tokhang.”
Abuedo added that the country “will not progress” if the killings would remain unabated.
For 60-year-old Danilo Paz, his prayers of good health to the Black Nazarene are not for him but for President Duterte, whom he said has delivered a “good performance,” especially in putting an end to petty crimes.
“Our country is better off now. I no longer worry for my family that they would fall victims to robbers and rapists at night,” Paz said.