Only qualified residents can attend Sinulog novena mass

·2 min read

ONLY residents carrying quarantine passes issued by the Cebu City Government will be allowed to attend the remaining seven novena masses at the Basilica del Sto. Niño.

Even authorized persons outside of residence (Apors) from outside the city will not be accommodated, said Lt. Col. Wilbert Parilla, deputy director for operations of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO).

He said the CCPO and church officials agreed to limit the number of churchgoers to avoid a resurgence in coronavirus cases in the city.

“We can only allow Cebu City residents to enter the basilica as we cannot handle everybody if we will let those without Q-passes enter. Even Apors from outside Cebu City are not allowed to enter,” he said.

Parilla said they need to control the number of people entering the basilica so they can ensure that physical distancing will be observed.

He encouraged the faithful to stay home and watch the mass online.

The city’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) logged 59 new cases on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021.

Meanwhile, Cebu City Councilor Phillip Zafra, committee on peace and public order chairman, said some individuals have been trying to enter the basilica’s vicinity even if they don’t have quarantine passes from the City.

Law enforcers have not apprehended any of the violators since they’ve been instructed to exercise “maximum tolerance.”

On Saturday, the second day of the novena mass, Zafra said their main concern was still the entrance of the basilica, prompting them to open the railings wider “if and when there are really a number of people” going in and out.

Personnel of the City Environmental Sanitation Enforcement Team (Ceset) also caught 29-year-old Arniel Pulot, a resident of Sitio Lower Kawayan, Barangay Sambag 2, selling fake quarantine passes for P20 a piece a few meters from the basilica on Magallanes St.

Pulot was turned over to personnel of the Waterfront Police Station. He will be charged with falsification of public documents.

Grace Luardo, Ceset head, said Pulot must have sold a number before he was apprehended, but he refused to say how much he’d earned.

Pulot told authorities he only sold passes, which contained his name, to people who were desperate to enter the basilica so they could hear mass and pray.

Judging by public behavior where a number of people continue to be complacent, Garganera said, “We are not yet ready for the new normal.” (AYB, BBT / JKV with a report from JJL)