Cebu News

EOC won’t stop barangay novenas

Caecent No-ot Magsumbol - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  Despite a spike in COVID-19 cases, Cebu City’s Emergency Operations Center has not recommended stopping the physical novena masses in honor of Sto. Niño in different barangay chapels.

However, EOC hopes that these barangay chapels reflect on the safety measures done by the Augustinian friars at the Basilica del Sto. Niño de Cebu.

Cebu City is under alert level 2.

Under alert level 2, religious activities are allowed, 50% of its seating capacity indoor and 70% outdoor.

Despite being supposedly allowed to conduct limited physical activities, the Augustinian priests decided to continue holding the novena masses and other fiesta-related activities for Sto. Niño online so as not to make it a “super-spreader event.”

“Kabahin sa Fiesta Señor, atong panaminan ang gibuhat diha sa mga Agustinian friars. Gani sila, virtual raman gani,” said EOC deputy chief implementer and city councilor Joel Garganera.

The Basilica itself has also been closed and only its Pilgrim Center has been open for candle lighting and veneration.

There is also no foot procession this year and only five vehicles are allowed during the grand motorcade this Saturday.

Garganera said “it’s a matter of meeting halfway.”

Church leaders and chapel leaders, he said, will have to assess the situation themselves if it is safety of the devotees that is at issue.

Along with this, barangay captains are also tasked to monitor Sinulog-related activities, ensuring that there will be no “super spreader” events in the barangays.

As of last night, IATF placed Cebu City under Alert Level 3 effective January 14 until 31.

Leaving it to conscience

Meanwhile, Mayor Michael Rama is not also issuing any directive regarding no Sinulog-related parties, saying the Cebuanos and the resto-bar owners know better.

He hopes that the public and business owners will be guided by their “conscience.”

Cebu City has weathered three surges of COVID infections already and long lockdowns. It is best, Rama said, that those who have no important things to do or buy outside should remain home and “pagpuyo.” — Decemay Padilla, JMD (FREEMAN)


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