Davao City won’t stop churches from holding Holy Week activities

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 6 April) – The city government of Davao will not stop the Roman Catholic churches here from organizing processions and other religious activities that could potentially draw a huge crowd during the Holy Week as the city remains under Alert Level 1 status.

Devotees flock to Shrine Hills in Matina, Davao City on Good Friday. MindaNews file photo by CAROLYN O. ARGUILLAS

Dr. Michelle Schlosser, spokesperson for the local COVID-19 Task Force, said during her program over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) on Wednesday that the local government could neither disallow groups from staging huge gatherings nor restrict the movement of people while the city remains under level 1 status.
 
Churches here had suspended face-to-face Holy Week activities for the past two years amid the surge of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases and had brought everything available online for their parishioners.
 
Schlosser said to avoid getting infected with COVID-19, churchgoers must keep wearing face masks during Lenten activities.
 
“What we ask from the church goers or religious groups to make sure that you wear your face masks and do not do anything that’s risky. If the activities are too risky and you know that they might lead to massive transmission, then please refrain from doing that activity,” she said.
 
Schlosser also urged the churches to convince their parishioners to have themselves vaccinated amid a threat of a new variant of COVID-19.
 
She said the number of people in the city who got their booster doses remains low, and hopes that residents get their booster shots before participating in any mass gatherings.
 
Schlosser said the local government is eyeing to conduct mobile vaccination in government offices and business establishments to increase the booster coverage in the city, particularly among workers.
 
“What we did was evaluate government offices and establishments, and we observed fewer people receive booster shots as compared with those fully vaccinated,” she said.
 
In Davao Region, the Department of Health-Davao reported 3,021,109 individuals who were fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Of this total, only 408,807 got their booster doses. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)