DAVAO City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio bared that the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) will now suspend its religious activities within the city, days after the mayor called their attention for continuing to hold mass gatherings despite the city’s guidelines against it.
Duterte-Carpio made the announcement on Wednesday, March 18, during her radio interview on 87.5 FM Disaster Radio after receiving a text from an INC member on Tuesday evening, March 17, although she said they are still confirming the source behind the text message.
“Nais ko lang ipaalam na tumawag na ang tagapangasiwa ng Iglesia. Iparating sa ating mahal na mayora na per abiso ng pamahalaang pangkalahatan, kami po ay susunod sa alituntunin ng gobyerno na pansamantala namin ipatitigil ang aming pagtitipon sa bawat kapilya (We would like to inform our beloved mayor that, as per ordered by the head officials of Iglesia ni Cristo, we will be abiding by the government’s order in suspending all religious activities in our churches),” Duterte-Carpio read the text message.
The mayor thanked INC for immediately abiding to her call for the suspension of their activities amid the threat of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
She hopes the suspension would also be imposed in the entire region, which is currently placed under lockdown.
She also apologized for her harsh statement Monday afternoon, March 16, after she threatened to take legal actions against them if they disobey the city order.
“Nalipay ko nga na-resolve nato nga dunay understanding nga kinahanglan buhaton sa isa’t isa. (I am glad we were able to resolve the matter through mutual understanding),” Duterte-Carpio said.
“Nagpasalamat ko nga nakasabot sila nga this is not an infringement of their religious beliefs, and their right to free exercise of religion because pwede man mo mangadyi sa balay, or anywhere else basta dili lang siya mass gathering (I am thankful that they were able to understand that this is not an infringement of their religious beliefs, and their right to free exercise of religion, because they are still allowed to pray within their homes, or anywhere else as long as it will not be through means of mass gathering),” Duterte-Carpio added.
She added the religious group is encouraged to continue its religious activity through the internet.
The mayor also underscored the need for prayers amind the Covid-19 pandemic.
Duterte-Carpio issued an executive order declaring Davao City under community quarantine on Sunday afternoon. The order states that all religious activities are automatically suspended.
The city mayor discouraged mass gatherings as these are potential causes of mass infection.
She also lauded the Islamic community for suspending its religious activities, in compliance with the Department of Health’s social distancing guideline.
Earlier, the Archdiocese of Davao, and other Christian religious groups have already suspended their activities indefinitely until the public health emergency is lifted.