The Department of Health clarified that it cannot support the practice of Filipinos of crucifying and flaging themselves as part of their “penitensya” during Holy Week.
According to Health Sec. Francisco Duque III, as an agency that cures and treats injuries and diseases, they cannot endorse acts that can cause bodily harm
“Hindi natin pwedeng sabihin na supportahan ng DOH yung pamamanata dahil tayo ay gumagamot ng sakit at nagbibigay lunas sa mga sugat.” Duque said during DZRH’s One On One. “Ang pamamanata ay isang klase ng pananakit sa sarili.”
Also, while the DOH cannot stop such practices, Duque appealed for penitents to be vaccinated against tetanus and that the nails being used should be clear of rust.
The Health official further added that the whip being used should also be cleaned and that injuries received from the flagellation and crucifixion should also be washed, treated, and disinfected.
“Magpa-bakuna ng anti-tetano bago mag-penitensya. Siguraduhin malinis ang mga pamalong gamit sa pag-pepenitensya at siguraduhin na walang kalawang ang pako na gagamitin sa pagpapako sa krus.” Duque insisted.
Other than tetanus, Duque also explained that crucifixion could also lead to bacterial infection, tendinitis, and other disease related to the skin, bones, and tendons.
The DOH secretary also advised devotees to take antibiotics if it’s highly suspected that microbes entered the body during the crucifixion.
“Kinakailangan mag-antibiotic kung may mataas na suspetsya na pumasok ang mikrobyo na pwedeng sanhi ng sakit sa balat, sa buto, sa litid.” Duque explained.
The practice of self-flagellation and crucifixion happens in various regions in the Philippines, particularly in Pampanga, during Good Friday as a show of penance