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DOH discourages flagellation, crucifixion on Holy Week

The Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday cautioned devotees against self-flagellation and crucifixion as part of their penance this Holy Week.

At a press conference, DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire pointed out that the leading health risk that people could get from such activities is tetanus or infection due to bacteria called Clostridium tetani.

“‘Yung flagellation, ‘yung pagpapako sa krus [the flagellation and crucifixion], we do not encourage and we really do not push for or support these kinds of activities during the Lenten season,” she said.

“Unang una, ang maaari niyong makuha ‘pag kayo ay nagpapapako sa krus ay tetano. Maaring ma-tetano rin kayo sa flagellation, ‘yung hinahampas, minsan may mga pako rin ‘yung dulo ng panghampas,” she added.

(First of all, you could get tetanus when you are crucified. You may also get tetanus from flagellation because there are nails at the end of some whips used for the beating.)

Vergeire said people with wounds could also get infections which could cause more damage to the body. Bruises and sprains are also possible when the bones in the hands and feet are nailed.

She advised devotees to instead follow other sacrifices this Holy Week aside from the mentioned traditional religious practices.

As to kissing images, the Health official said there are no restrictions for such, but reminded the public to be cautious.

“Maaari nating gawin ‘yung mga usual na ginagawa natin. Dapat lang ang bawat isa sa atin, alam natin kung paano tayo magiingat. It would be up to each and every person, bawat Pilipino, na isipin na kung sa tingin nila humalik sila, ay sila ay magiging safe, maaari po nilang gawin ‘yun. Pero kung sa tingin niyo ay hindi kayo magiging safe, don’t do that,” Vergeire said.

(We can do the usual things we do. However, we should know how to be careful. It would be up to each and every person, every Filipino, to consider if they think kissing images would be safe for them, then they could do so. But if you think you won't be safe, don't do that.) —VAL, GMA Integrated News