Nazarene devotee at Traslacion as first-timer rescue responder
The Traslacion — or the procession of the Black Nazarene — is one of the biggest religious events in the Philippines, attracting millions of devotees from all over the country to Manila, home of the revered icon.
It’s also known for putting the devotees at risk as they battle with the sweltering heat of the sun and the elbow-to-elbow crowding during the procession.
Some devotees pass out due to exhaustion. Other get injured by either sharp objects that pierce their bare feet or by the stampede of people trying to get near to the image.
Rescue responders assigned at various points of the procession hold the safety, and even the lives, of the devotees in their hands.
Ian Joseph Riñon, a 26-year-old Black Nazarene devotee, did not join the procession this year. Instead, he decided to serve as an emergency responder — his first time to ever do so.
“As a first timer siyempre marami pa akong kailangan matutunan. This Traslacion would be my baptism of fire,” Riñon told INQUIRER.net.
[As a first timer, I need to learn many things of course. This Traslacion would be my baptism of fire.]
Riñon, who is also a member of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Reserve Command, also serves with the SR Fire and Rescue Volunteers Inc. (SRFRVI).
He said he had always wanted to be a rescue responder since undergoing the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program when he was in college at the University of Santo Tomas, where he was taking up a BA Communication Arts course.
“Since I wanted to put my ROTC into good use, I joined this group not only as a reservist but also as a member of the SR Fire and Rescue Volunteers, which is the civilian arm of this unit,” Riñon said.
“Kaya ko nagustuhan yung search and rescue line of work — o yung role ng unit namin — kasi, let’s face it, this country is a gold mine of catastrophes. Lindol, baha, sunog, tsunami, volcanic erruptions — name it we have it,” he added.
[I got to like this search and rescue line of work — which the role of our unit — because, let’s face it, this country is a gold mine of catastrophes. Earthquakes, flooding, fires, tsunami, volcanic eruptions — name it we have it.]
Coming from a religious family in Cavite, he wanted to serve as a rescue responder during this year’s Traslacion to show his devotion.
“Noong nalaman ko na sa group namin [magbo-volunteer sa Traslacion], I told myself: ‘Deboto ka, Ian. You’re involved in this. So why not metamorphasize your family’s devotion by involving yourself in assisting people who might get injured, who might get faint along the way, lalo na ngayon na medyo maaraw pa?’,” he said.
[When I learned that our group would volunteer in the Traslacion, I told myself: “You’re a devotee, Ian. You’re involved in this. So why not metamorphasize your family’s devotion by involving yourself in assisting people who might get injured, who might get faint along the way, especially now when the sun is shining strong.]
He said he would not be joining the procession as he already considered his work as a rescue responder as his way of showing his devotion.
“I already consider this as my ‘panata’,” Riñon said. “It’s not just a call of duty, vocation na rin talaga. It’s very early to say pero as far as I see it, it is a vocation,” he said.
But ultimately, he said he would just want to help people.
“As a private citizen, as a simple Filipino person, gusto ko talagang makatulong eh [I just want to help],” Riñon said. /atm
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