Sunday public gathering alarms Cebu officials

Published July 27, 2021, 1:03 PM

by Calvin Cordova 

CEBU CITY – Officials here expressed alarm over the rampant mass gatherings despite the surging cases of COVID-19.

Photos of people gathering at Plaza Independencia and at Cebu I.T. Park circulated on social media on Sunday, July 25.

“Can’t help but be alarmed with what has been being shown on social media. We should stay vigilant, follow the health protocols because the threat of COVID-19 is still around,” said City Councilor Franklyn Ong, who is the president of the Association of Barangay Councils-Cebu City.

Aside from strictly observing health protocols, Ong likewise urged the Cebuanos not to hesitate to the COVID-19 vaccines.

“Being vaccinated is the only way that we can survive this pandemic,” said Ong.

According to Police Major Edgar Labe, chief of the Waterfront Police Station, said gatherings were reported in Plaza Independencia, For San Pedro and South Road Properties from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. last Sunday.

Labe said the gatherings were dispersed but not after some verbal altercations.

Labe has recommended to the city government to temporarily close the Plaza Independencia to prevent people from gathering there.

“While we encourage outdoor spaces to be maximized, this should always be coupled with the observance of our health and safety protocols,” City Councilor Joel Garganera said.

Garganera said complacency and the city’s lack of personnel have contributed to mass gatherings happening around the city.

These mass gatherings have been blamed to increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the city. The city’s active COVID-19 cases have breached the 2,000-mark anew after the daily new cases reached three digits in the past few days.

“What happened in Plaza Independencia last Sunday does not only show complacency by the public and the corresponding lack of manpower to enforce health and safety protocol, it also shows the lack of open spaces where the public can get rid of this COVID-19 fatigue,” said Garganera.