Cebu City to deploy more security personnel on last day of Misa de Gallo
CEBU CITY, Philippines – Anticipating the gathering of a bigger crowd outside of churches on the last day of the Misa de Gallo on Thursday, December 24, the Cebu City government said it deploy additional security personnel to ensure strict compliance with health protocols.
Councilor Joel Garganera, the deputy implementer of the city’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC), said that more security personnel will be deployed in churches to make sure that churchgoers will observe especially the social distancing requirements and comply with the need to wear face masks and face shields.
Hundreds crowded Cebu City churches on the first day of the dawn Masses on December 16. The number of attendees slightly dropped in the past days, but it is expected to again increase on Dec. 24.
“Yes, [we felt relieved that] the crowd has become manageable but let’s not be complacent. The more [that] we should up our guards especially on the last day [of the dawn Masses],” Garganera said.
Garganera said they have tapped the help of Cebu City Mobile Force to especially augment the police force now deployed in the bigger churches here.
The city government allowed the conduct of Misa de Gallo and Simbang Gabi despite threats of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), but subject to several conditions, particularly the need to comply with health protocols.
But as the nine-day series of Masses kicked off last December 16, local officials noticed that the crowd gathering outside of churches displayed little or no regard for social distancing requirements.
This prompted them to order the implementation of additional measures to prevent overcrowding and the possible spread of the infection.
Additional measures include the closure of roads that lead to big churches like the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu and the deployment of Kaohsiung buses to send minors and senior citizens, who are not allowed to attend the dawn Masses, back to home.
Cebu City was placed under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) since September, a status that is expected to last until December 31, 2020.
As of December 20, the Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7) recorded 96 active COVID-19 cases here.
Local officials have expressed fear for a possible surge in active cases that may result from the gathering of a huge crowd during the Misa de Gallo. / dcb
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