DAVAO CITY – The celebration of the feast of Sto. Niño at the Shrine of the Holy Infant Jesus of Prague in Matina district here will push through on January 15 despite the threat of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Public Safety and Security Command Center (PSSCC) head Angel Sumagaysay said, in a text message on Saturday, that the security cluster has already drafted the security and safety plan, and has agreed with church representatives on the setup inside the venue to manage the crowd and control the entry of pilgrims.
He said traditional activities, other than the Holy Mass, will no longer push through.
“It will be purely Masses,” he said.
The church will not allow pilgrims aged below 18 and 65 and above, including persons with disability (PWDs), inside the venue, Sumagaysay said.
He said security personnel will be deployed around the venue to ensure the implementation of the minimum health protocols, particularly the physical distancing, and enforcement of the one-entrance and one-exit policy.
“The number of people who will be allowed inside will be limited to the number of seats prepared for every Mass. The others will have to wait for the next Mass… The one who will assess whether the venue is already full or not is the church management itself while the security will assist them,” he said.
According to Resolution No. 80 of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases issued on October 22, 2020, religious gatherings in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) shall be allowed up to 30 percent of the seating or venue capacity.
The city reverted to GCQ from modified GCQ last November 20. The GCQ has been extended until January 31, 2021.
Mayor Sara Duterte said during her program over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) on Friday that the city government will allow the celebration of the feast of Sto. Niño at Shrine Hills, but security personnel will be closely monitoring the compliance of the pilgrims to the minimum health protocols, such as observing the physical distancing and wearing of facemasks and face shields.
As of January 9, the Department of Health (DOH)-Davao Region reported 229 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 13,696, with 1,987 active, 11,148 recoveries and 561 deaths in the region.
Of the total cases, Davao City reported 9,557, Davao de Oro with 651, Davao del Norte with 1,776, Davao del Sur with 1,001, Davao Occidental with 133, and Davao Oriental with 578.