Churches in Davao City may now resume religious activities

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 1 July) – Religious sectors in Davao City may now hold church services from Mondays to Saturdays, as the city shifted to modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) starting July 1 until 15, Mayor Sara Duterte said on Wednesday.

An almost empty street and the empty San Pedro Cathedral in Davao City during quarantine. MindaNews file photo by MANMAN DEJETO

During a live interview over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5), Duterte said religious groups were already given the go signal to host religious activities, provided that they only accommodate churchgoers at a maximum of 50 percent of the venue’s seating capacity during ceremonies.

Duterte, however, said the local government would prohibit church services on Sundays to lessen the number of people going out of their houses to slow the transmission of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) since all establishments and offices have resumed operations under MGCQ, although some are operating with skeleton workforce.

“We can have at least one day to lessen to the barest minimum the possibility of transmitting the disease to other people because we are certain that when you go, there is that high risk that you can get infected,” she said.

The mayor reminded churchgoers to observe physical distancing and wear facemask during religious ceremonies.

Section 5 of the Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines, updated as of June 25, provides that mass gatherings such as but not limited to, movie screenings, concerts, sporting events, and other entertainment activities, religious services, and work conferences shall be allowed provided that participants shall be limited to 50 percent of the seating or venue capacity.

The Omnibus Guidelines, however, did not prohibit the conduct of church services, and other mass gatherings, as defined in Section 5, on Sundays.

According to the Department of Health-Davao, Davao Region reported 534 COVID-19 cases: 416 in Davao City, 43 in Davao del Norte, 21 in Davao del Sur, 26 in Davao de Oro, 24 in Davao Oriental, and 4 in Davao Occidental as of June 30.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte has placed 16 areas in Mindanao, including Davao City and Zamboanga City, under MGCQ starting July 1 to July 15.

The provinces Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, and Davao de Oro would remain under MGCQ.

Zamboanga City would also shift to MGCQ from GCQ.

Still on extended MGCQ are Zamboanga del Sur in Zamboanga Peninsula; Bukidnon, Misamis Occidental, Misamis Oriental, and Cagayan de Oro City in Northern Mindanao; North Cotabato and South Cotabato in Soccsksargen; Agusan del Norte and Butuan City in Caraga; and Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao in Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

The rest of Mindanao would be under “low-risk type of MGCQ.” (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)