DOH-7 to LGUs: Limit Misa de Gallo crowd
CEBU CITY, Philippines – The Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7) does not see any problem with allowing the holding of Misa de Gallo (dawn Masses) this year.
However, health officials are asking local government units here to limit the crowd in churches.
In a text message sent to CDN Digital, Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, the spokesperson of DOH-7, said their agency is recommending for LGUs to “strictly enforce” health protocols during the dawn Masses.
These include limiting the number of attendees in every Mass, implement physical distancing inside and outside the churches, and requiring attendees to always wear face masks and/or face shields.
“DOH-7 believes that this ages-old tradition can still be enjoyed and observed provided that LGUs (strictly observe minimum health standards),” said Loreche.
She also said the decision of the Malacañang to give LGUs the discretion on whether or not to allow Misa de Gallo in their localities this year and amid the threat of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) empowers the latter to “assess their capacity to implement the necessary minimum health standards protocol.”
“The Simbang Gabi or Misa de Gallo is a very significant part of our country’s celebration of Christmas,” Loreche said.
Last November 27, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announced the national government’s decision to allow LGUS to decide if they will allow the conduct of Misa de Gallo this year.
In Cebu City, Mayor Edgardo Labella said that he was inclined to allowing dawn Masses in his City, but he wanted to first consult with the church and wait for the guidelines that will be issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) before he will formally announce his decision on the issue.
But this early, the city’s police force is already anticipating the possibility of allowing dawn Masses here.
Police Lieutenant Colonel Clark Arriola, information officer of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO), told reporters in a press conference that they have already identified at least 35 churches in the city that may need police augmentation as soon as Labella would announce his decision to allow dawn Masses.
Arriola said they will be coordinating with the city government, the Pastoral Security Group, the Roman Catholic Church’s own security forces, within the first week of December to discuss security plans.
“We also asked the public that if Misa de Gallo will push through, they should always observe minimum health standards so we can enjoy the Holidays safely,” said Arriola in Cebuano. / dcb
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