Cebu City EOC: City government won’t regulate churches; vaccination bubble not required

By: Dyrecka Letigio - CDN Digital Multi-Media Reporter | September 14,2021 - 08:25 PM

Devotees wave their hands to the Señor Sto. Niño asking for mercy and blessings during the Hubo Mass on Friday, January 22, 2021. | CDNDigital photo – Morexette Marie B. Erram

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Cebu City Emergency Operations Center (EOC) said the city government will not impose any form of vaccination bubble in the churches as this would infringe on the separation of church and state.

EOC deputy chief implementor, Councilor Joel Garganera, said that the Executive Order allowing privileges to vaccinated individuals only applies to non-essential businesses such as sports venues, spas, salons, and the like.

The privilege extends to indoor dine-in as well to allow for economic recovery.

“We never require sa Church because we only stick to the EO, kato rang mga enclosed area,” said Garganera.

Instead, the EOC is recommending that churches implement the health protocols on their own and as strictly as possible.

In fact, the EOC supports the proposal of the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño to limit their volunteers to vaccinated individuals who include the church servants.

“Mao na ilang mga suggestion. By all means, why not? Kay we are in the same direction, but us requiring priests to be vaccinated, no, wala ta ana,” said the councilor.

Still, Garganera hopes that churches will advocate for vaccination to their members and have their pastors, leaders, and priests get vaccinated as well.

The EOC said it would appreciate the help of the religious sector in advocating for vaccination among its members and implementing measures to reduce the transmission of the COVID-19.

As early as now, the Basilica is already discussing with the EOC the possible changes, restrictions, and coordinations for the coming year.

One of the Basilica’s health measures is to only accept volunteers who are vaccinated so that pilgrims may be safe and to reduce the risk of transmission within the Basilica compound.

Garganera said the city government has no objections to this and appreciated the proposal since this would help mitigate the rise of COVID-19 cases in the next Fiesta Señor.

Still, the councilor reiterates that they are not requiring any church or place of worship to do so and will only appeal to the church for cooperation.     /rcg

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TAGS: Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño, Cebu City, Cebu City churches, Cebu City EOC, Councilor Joel Garganera, EOC, Executive Order, health protocols, salons, separation of church and state, spas, sports venues, vaccination bubble

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