Cebuanos starting to comply with health protocols during dawn masses

Published December 20, 2020, 12:01 PM

by Calvin Cordova 

CEBU CITY—Authorities here heaved a huge sigh of relief after it was noted that churchgoers have become more compliant with health protocols during dawn masses.

Catholic devotees flock outside the Basilica Minore del Sto Nino to hear the mass for the second day of the Misa de Gallo last December 17, 2020 (Photo by Juan Carlo de Vela/ MANILA BULLETIN FILE)

The fourth and fifth days of the nine-day Misa de Gallo were more orderly after the police found difficulty in controlling the huge crowd in the first three days of the dawn masses.

“The mayor and the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) felt relieved,” said Councilor Joel Garganera, head of the city’s EOC.

Garganera said the EOC has been assessing the situation in the 35 churches in the city to ensure that health protocols were being followed during masses.

While the use of quarantine passes was suspended during dawn masses, measures have been taken to limit the crowd attending masses, such as preventing churchgoers aged 15 years old and below, and those 65 years old and above to enter churches.

“There were still presence of minors. We will be fielding busses starting tomorrow (Sunday) to transport these minors back to their barangays. Family bringing minors, toddlers or babies will not be allowed to enter the church premises,” said Garganera.

“The closure of roads within the church premises, and not allowing cars to park in the parking space of the church during the mass really provide ample space for churchgoers,” Garganera added.

Over at the Basilica Minore del Santo Nino de Cebu church, more sound system and video screens were put up in its perimeter that prevented churchgoers from crowding together in one area.

The Cebu City Mobile Force has augmented its personnel in big churches, while force multipliers and volunteers from the Cebu City government have also stepped in to help maintain orderliness, Garganera said.

“Overall, the compliance of the minimum health protocols was properly observed,” said Garganera after leading a meeting with Cebu City Police Office chief Police Col. Josefino Ligan and the chiefs of the 11 police stations in the city early Sunday.

Garganera advised the public to continue cooperating with authorities for the four remaining days of dawn masses.

“Do not be complacent, the more that we up our guards especially in the last day,” said Garganera.

The EOC has been strictly monitoring the conduct of dawn masses to prevent another round of spike of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The city has logged 10,740 COVID-19 cases, but the number of active cases has gone down to 87 based on the December 19 data of the Department of Health Central Visayas.