CEBU City residents may have to observe Holy Week this year from their homes as the Philippine National Police has stood pat on its plan to prevent mass gatherings of any kind in churches and other religious sites during the Lenten Season.
Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) Director Col. Josefino Ligan said due to the rising Covid-19 cases in the city, the CCPO plans to prevent the people from attending religious activities related to the Lenten observance which are held in public places.
Areas where mass gatherings could occur during Holy Week such as churches, pilgrimage sites and private gardens, among others, will be tightly secured by police, Ligan said.
Ligan told reporters that Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella may soon come out with an executive order banning all public gatherings during the Holy Week.
Holy Week this year, 2021, falls on March 28 (Palm Sunday) to April 4 (Easter Sunday).
Even churches, traditionally flocked to by the Catholic faithful for Visita Iglesia on Maundy Thursday, will be heavily secured by police to prevent gatherings, said Ligan.
Ligan said the deployment of police forces will include the assignment of more cops at the Carbon Public Market until Black Saturday to prevent an incident similar to last year’s when people flocked to the market despite strict quarantine measures just to buy ingredients for “binignit.”
Binignit is a famous Visayan dessert made with glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk and various other native ingredients.
Ligan said he will also deploy more personnel on Easter Sunday as people are expected to flock to beaches.
The South Road Properties (SRP), which often draws crowds during Easter Sunday, will be among the areas to be monitored by police, Ligan added.
Barangay officials will help monitor their areas for possible mass gatherings related to the Lenten season.
Ligan urged Cebu City residents to comply with the laws and observe minimum health protocols to avoid being penalized.
Meanwhile, the Cebuano street-play “Buhing Kalbaryo” will be shown online just like last year, said Cebu City Vice Mayor Michael Rama.
Rama has been organizing the street-play on the Passion of Christ for the last 24 years.
Buhing Kalbaryo in 2020 was also staged online as there were no live audiences at the height of strict Covid-19 quarantine measures in Cebu City.
“We are having a meeting but of course, unorthodox, unconventional, and perhaps, Buhing Kalbaryo could (still) be virtual,” said Rama.
Cebu City reported 181 new Covid-19 cases and 198 new recoveries on Thursday, March 11, brining active cases to 2,640. (JJL)