DESPITE restrictions on mass gathering with Cebu City still on enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), an unauthorized Sinulog performance took place in Sitio Alumnos, Barangay Basak San Nicolas on Saturday night, June 27, 2020.
The City Legal Office served a show-cause order to Basak San Nicolas Barangay Captain Norman Navarro and members of Barangay Council on Sunday, June 28.
Navarro also met with the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) 7, which is investigating the activity’s organizers and participants.
Navarro said only one of the organizers attended the meeting.
City Attorney Rey Gealon said the CLO will initiate criminal and administrative proceedings against barangay officials if his office finds their explanation “devoid of any factual and legal bases.”
The officials may face gross negligence and dereliction of duty under Section 60 (c) of the Local Government Code and resistance and disobedience under Article 151 of the Revised Penal Code, Gealon said.
“This is plain and simple complacency, let alone negligence, in a time when they are supposed to enforce the clear mandate of the laws and other lawful orders,” he said.
Mayor Edgardo Labella said now is not the right time to hold a religious activity, considering the high number of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases in the city.
“Much that I don’t want to offend the religious sensibilities of the faithful, we have an existing prohibition from the IATF to prohibit mass gathering and strict observance of social and physical distancing,” said Labella.
Village chief’s side
The activity was also criticized by City Councilors Eduardo Rama Jr. and Raymond Alvin Garcia.
Rama said the organizers must be charged by putting everybody at risk of getting infected with Covid-19.
Navarro said he will file a complaint against organizers of the activity, as well as the eight individuals who participated in the dance.
Days before the sitio celebrated its fiesta, he said a resident asked him if they could hold a mass in honor of Senior Sto. Niño.
He said he denied the request since it would surely gather a crowd.
He said he also asked the priest assigned in the barangay not to hold any religious activity.
“I denied their request. They asked me nga i-mobile nalang nila ang santos (if they could hold a motorcade for the icon), I told them I can’t decide because we’re under military control,” he said.
However, at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, he was informed that organizers pushed through with the “small procession,” which attracted a crowd.
Navarro said he immediately sent tanods to disperse the onlookers. People went home and the tanods returned to their posts at the barangay’s control point, he said.
Around 6 p.m., Navarro said he was informed that eight people were performing an offertory dance, which attracted a crowd. There was even a fireworks display, he said.
Navarro said he sent the tanods back to the area to admonish the crowd.
Navarro said the barangay only has 10 tanods.
Navarro urged his constituents to follow quarantine protocols, adding that the number of Covid-19 in the barangay is going up.
“We have been telling them that these are the number of cases in our barangay so they will follow the protocols, yet others still don’t follow,” said Navarro.
The barangay has 90 active Covid-19 cases. Six of them come from Sitio Alumnos.
Basak San Nicolas is on the top 12 list of barangays with the most number of active Covid-19 cases that the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) is considering to place on barangay-wide lockdown.
On Sunday, police personnel were sent to Basak San Nicolas to enforce community quarantine protocols.
In another development, police are flying two drones to monitor the movement of residents in the city.
As of June 28, Covid-19 cases in the city has reached nearly 5,000.
Cebu City’s ECQ status is scheduled to end on Tuesday, June 30.
On Friday, June 26, the City Council approved the ordinance entitled “an Ordinance Penalizing any Violation in Relation to the Implementation of General/Enhanced Community Quarantine Status in Cebu City during Public Health Crisis,” which was authored by City Councilors Dave Tumulak, Phillip Zafra and Garcia.
The ordinance penalizes violators with a fine not less than P3,000 for the first offense, P5,000 for the second offense and P10,000 for the third offense, or 30 days imprisonment, at the discretion of the court.
This may also lead to the forfeiture of benefits and allowances provided by the City such as financial assistance and tax amnesty, among others, for two years from the imposition of penalty.
For erring establishments, business permits may be revoked or will be ordered closed.
During the community quarantine, enhanced or general, it is mandatory to wear face masks and properly wear it; observe 1.5-meter social distancing in public places and in commercial and business establishments and one meter in public and private vehicles; stay at home; and carry a quarantine pass, or Q pass, when running errands.
Establishments, public and private vehicles allowed to operate during community quarantine must post notices, stating “failure/refusal to present ECQ pass, wear face mask and observe social distancing is punishable by law.”
The Philippine National Police; Cebu City Transportation Office; Prevention, Rehabilitation, Order, Beautification and Enhancement team; and barangay officials must strictly enforce the ordinance.
The ordinance shall take effect 15 days after publication in a newspaper of general circulation.
Number coding suspended
Mayor Labella also announced that the number coding scheme of vehicles will be suspended effective Monday, June 29.
Labella issued an executive order (EO) on June 27, which amended EO 82.
EO 82-A suspends the number coding scheme of vehicles and the schedule of QR-coded quarantine passes will be followed, said Labella.
“We change it to jive with the Q pass,” the mayor said in an interview.
Under the new arrangement, Q passes with codes ending in odd numbers (1,3,5,7,9) can only go out on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Passes ending in even numbers (0,2,4,6,8) can only go out on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
The pass is valid only from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
On Sundays, no one is allowed to go out except essential workers and authorized persons outside residence (Apor).
EO 82-A also modifies the schedule for the Carbon Public Market, in which the market will now be closed on Sundays and not on Mondays.