It took Cebu City five days or the fifth break of day, to be exact, to get things right.
With the assistance of church officials, different law enforcement agencies and barangays, the City Government was finally able to control the crowd that had gathered outside the 23 churches spread across the city to attend this year’s Misa de Gallo, which started on Dec. 16, 2020.
Better late than never, some of you would say.
Well, not really. Not in this case, at least.
You see, the City had known beforehand that there would be dawn masses. In fact, it was on Dec. 7 that Mayor Edgardo Labella announced that he was suspending the use of quarantine passes during this nine-day period despite the objection of a Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) official.
Yes. Lt. Col. Wilbert Parilla, deputy director for operations of the CCPO, had asked the mayor to change his mind.
Parilla had anticipated the logistical nightmare that the move would entail. He knew they would have a problem trying to control the number of people going out on the streets since they didn’t have enough manpower to monitor the public and to ensure that minimum health standards would be observed.
Labella, though, stood pat on his decision.
And I don’t blame him. I truly believe he is a nice guy and that he is a law-abiding citizen. He probably expected everybody else to be the same. But did he really think residents of Cebu City would comply with health protocols to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) just because he asked them to?
We’re talking about the very same people who blatantly violate a presidential directive not to park on sidewalks and by the side of highways and people who ignore the “No Jaywalking” sign at the Fuente Rotunda.
I hate to say it, but not everyone has the same regard for rules or the law as the former Visayas ombudsman director.
Not that I’m pointing a finger at anyone. And even if I am, I know I’m pointing it at the wrong person.
You see, it’s so easy to blame authorities for all the bad things that have been happening since the city was placed on community quarantine more than nine months ago, partly because they are responsible, but members of the public need to be held accountable for their actions, too.
Even before the Misa de Gallo started, they knew they were not allowed to bring toddlers or children below 15 years old to church. But they did, anyway. Never mind about the 65 years old and above. They do whatever they want, regardless.
But hey, at least the situation is under control, right? I guess now we’ll just have to keep our fingers crossed and hope the virus took no notice of the recent snafu.