January 13, 2022 | 00:00
CEBU, Philippines — Despite a spike in COVID-19 cases, Cebu City’s Emergency Operations Center has not recommended stopping physical novena masses in Sto’s honor. Niño in different barangay chapels.
However, EOC hopes that these barangay chapels reflect the security measures taken by the Augustinian friars at the Basilica del Sto. Nino from Cebu.
Cebu City is under Alert Level 2.
Under Alert Level 2, religious activities are permitted, with 50% of its seating capacity indoors and 70% outdoors.
Although they were supposed to be allowed to conduct limited physical activities, the Augustinian priests decided to continue to hold novena masses and other festive-related activities for Sto. Niño online so as not to make it a “super-spreader event”.
“Kabahin en Fiesta Señor, among the Saint Augustine Friars. Gani sila, virtual raman gani,” said Joel Garganera, EOC Deputy Director of Implementation and City Councilman.
The basilica itself was also closed and only its pilgrimage center was opened for candle lighting and veneration.
There is also no parade on foot this year and only five vehicles are allowed in the grand procession this Saturday.
Garganera said “it’s about meeting halfway”.
Church leaders and chapel leaders, he said, will have to assess the situation themselves if it is the safety of worshipers that is at stake.
Along with this, barangay captains are also responsible for monitoring Sinulog related activities, ensuring that there are no ‘super spread’ events in the barangays.
Last night, the IATF placed Cebu City under Alert Level 3 from January 14-31.
Let consciousness be
Meanwhile, Mayor Michael Rama is also not issuing a directive regarding the absence of Sinulog-related parties, saying Cebuanos and resto-bar owners know best.
He hopes the public and business owners will be guided by their “conscience”.
Cebu City has already weathered three waves of COVID infections and lengthy lockdowns. It’s best, Rama said, for those who don’t have important things to do or buy outside to stay home and “pagpuyo”. — Decemay Padilla, JMD (FREEMAN)