CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) is appealing to Mayor Edgardo Labella to continue requiring quarantine passes during the Misa de Gallo period to control the number of people going out.
Police Lieutenant Colonel Wilbert Parilla, the deputy director for operations of the CCPO, said that it will be difficult to handle the crowd if quarantine passes will be suspended during the period of the novena masses from December 16 to 24, 2020.
“So far we don’t have an official directive that quarantine passes are suspended but we will prepare if that will be the case. But for us, our stand at the PNP (Philippine National Police) is that quarantine passes are still needed because we are still under quarantine,” said Parilla.
Mayor Labella said on Monday, December 7, that quarantine passes will not be needed during the period of the Misa de Gallo “as long as we observe the minimum health requirements.”
Parilla said that one of the major challenges they will face if quarantine passes will be suspended is the monitoring of the public and ensuring of the implementation of health protocols.
With no more augmentation force, the CCPO simply does not have enough manpower to monitor all parishes around the city and the expected crowd.
Police believe the risk for the spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 will be higher without the need for quarantine passes.
Parilla said the CCPO will suggest that quarantine passes be waived only during the Misa De Gallo schedules from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. After that, they want the quarantine passes to be required again when going out for the rest of the day.
But the CCPO said it will respect whatever the decision of the mayor will be and are prepared for the suspension of the use of quarantine passes.
Misa de Gallo marshalls
Labella, in a phone interview, said he is more inclined to suspend the use of quarantine pass during the Misa De Gallo period to allow the public to practice their faith under the minimum health requirements.
“It would be very difficult to require the quarantine passes because you know, it’s a mass and the faithful, they will want to go everyday. You know, this can be an exemption because this involves the faith,” said the mayor.
Understanding the lack of manpower by the police, Labella said the city government will deploy at least 500 Misa De Gallo marshalls in parishes who will help maintain order and check that health protocols are followed.
The marshalls will be deployed and coordinated with barangay officials, who are also instructed to work with the parishes to ensure order during the Misa de Gallo period.
Labella said he will also consider waiving the quarantine passes only during the Misa De Gallo and not for the entire day, but he will be consulting the health authorities on the matter.
The mayor has yet to release an executive order for the Misa de Gallo but promised to release it within the week.