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Crucifixion site on lockdown to block penitents

/ 04:58 AM April 06, 2020

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, Philippines — The new coronavirus is poised to bring to a stop this Holy Week the crucifixion rites in the village of San Pedro Cutud here.

Barangay Cutud, where some 5,000 penitents would end their flagellation and crucifixion on Good Friday, has been placed on total lockdown since Palm Sunday to stop the spread of infection.

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Six policemen were sent to the area to guard the three entrances to the village, said Cutud chair Remegio de la Cruz. “I do not want foreigners and local spectators to come,” he told the Inquirer by phone.

The village’s Good Friday events, ending on a version of Calvary, had been drawing 30,000 to 50,000 spectators annually due to real-life crucifixion rites.

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Hardheaded villagers

“This coronavirus disease must be stopped from being transmitted,” De la Cruz said. “There are some villagers who are hardheaded, but I am strict. So they better obey me or else.”

Ruben Enaje, 59, a house and billboard painter, regularly took on the role of Jesus Christ in “Via Crucis” (Way of the Cross), the play staged on the streets of Cutud.

But local officials have asked Enaje and other penitents to drop the crucifixion rites after President Duterte ordered a stop to the gathering of people in big numbers to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Enaje said he would just carry a 37-kilogram wooden cross from his house to the hill on Good Friday.

—TONETTE OREJAS

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TAGS: Coronavirus Pandemic, COVID-19, Holy Week 2020, Pampanga crucifixion site
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