Barangays warned: Cancel fiestas or face sanction

Caecent No-ot Magsumbol (The Freeman) - January 13, 2021 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Barangays in Cebu City are told to call off crowd-drawing events like fiestas amid the pandemic.

City Councilor Joel Garganera, who also sits as deputy chief implementer of Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in the city, said barangay officials should take the cancellation of all physical Novena Masses for Fiesta Señor as an example.

“We are warning kaning mga barangays nga mo-practice gihapon sa ilang usual nga fiesta.Ilang panamini ang Basilica.Wa na gani mag misa atong Basilica nga pisikal, sila pa kaha? So this is a warning,” said Garganera.

“Please, let’s take our cue from the Basilica to forego with the physical Masses. I hope they cooperate,” he added.

Garganera, Association of Barangay Councils president Franklin Ong, Cebu City Police Office director Josefino Ligan and Department of Interior and Local Government-Cebu City officer-in-charge Ian Kenneth Lucero met with the barangay officials and reminded them on the holding of fiesta-related activities.

DILG said it not hesitate to issue show cause order to barangays that will violate the health protocols.

“Amo gyung gi-emphasize that we should have strict enforcement kay niagi tag Disyembre, gi lift ang atong quarantine with the hope that people would practice discipline. We’ve been clamoring for the new normal, yet grabe gihapon atong gatherings.”

“It is in eating, talking, singing, drinking when ang protection nato down. Di man ta mag face mask, di man ta mag face shield and this is where transmission is, in contrary in the church,” said Garganera.

Garganera said the Augustinian friars made the move to help prevent COVID-19 from further spreading.

Authorities clarified though that the cancellation of Novena Masses was not attributed to four COVID-19 cases tagged to the Basilica.

These four cases were traced back to Misa de Gallo in December and church visits, but not from the Basilica as earlier reported.

The Archdiocese of Cebu spokesperson, Monsignor Joseph Tan said the church is only a spreader of faith, love and forgiveness but not virus.

“If grace is a virus, I want to be contaminated,” he said.

Although physical Masses were cancelled, virtual or online Masses continue until the Fiesta Señor on Sunday.

Department of Health-7 spokesperson Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, however, said any form of mass gathering can further spread the virus.

Cebu City currently has 385 active cases, including 23 new ones. It also logged one more death.

According to EOC, social gathering is the highest outside transmission source at 19.48 percent.

Social gathering is followed by workplace at 16.88 percent, medical frontliners at 16.01 percent and prison facilities at 9.95 percent.

Other sources of outside transmission include supermarkets, public markets, malls, hospitals, eateries, funerals, exposure to a COVID-19 positive outside Cebu City, inbound travellers, neighborhood transmission, and police personnel, among others.

Household infection, on the other hand, is at 30.81 percent.

At present, there are 45 barangays with active infections.

With the number, EOC has decided to re-activate barangays Labangon and Tejero as holding area for quarantine violators. — Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon, KQD (FREEMAN)

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