Davao bans backpacks, bags, boxes inside churches

Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles. MindaNews file photo

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/ 30 January) – Security forces in Davao City have prohibited the bringing of backpacks and bulky plastic bags and boxes inside places of worship here to prevent similar bombing incidents that hit the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Jolo, Sulu last Sunday leaving 20 people dead and 111 others wounded, Mayor Sara Duterte said Tuesday.

Duterte said the measure came after she asked the police and military to review their security plan for the city.

In an interview at the sidelines of the 51st Annual Installation of Officers and Board of Trustees of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. at the Marco Polo Hotel, the mayor said she will not place the city in a lockdown.

A lockdown on top of a martial law in Mindanao which has been implemented since May 23, 2017, day one of the Marawi siege, “will be very bad for the economy,” she explained.

In a press release issued by the City Information Office, Public Safety and Security Command Center head Benito de Leon advised churchgoers to bring only small handbags or purses to allow security forces to monitor suspicious activities more efficiently.

“In that manner, we could avoid an incident, wherein some malicious individuals could put in explosive devices in backpacks, the same scheme that happened in Jolo,” de Leon added.

But he said churchgoers are advised to submit themselves for inspection if they could not avoid the bringing of big bags.

Davao Archbishop Romulo G. Valles had released an order prohibiting bags, backpacks, knapsacks, boxes, and the like inside churches, and allowing only small purses. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)