THE Cebu City Government has agreed to adjust the city’s curfew to pave the way for the holding of Misa de Gallo, the traditional nine-day series of dawn masses leading up to Christmas day.
In a phone interview with reporters, Mayor Edgardo Labella said the Catholic Church can go ahead and schedule the dawn masses in Cebu City between 3 a.m. to 6 a.m.
The city’s current curfew runs from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Labella said he will issue an Executive Order on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020 adjusting the six-hour curfew along with other guidelines on the holding of Misa de Gallo in the city.
“I will have this finalized because we have to reconcile this with our curfew hours,” said Labella.
Labella is also considering a proposal from Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma for churches to hold two anticipated masses at night and another two masses at dawn to avoid crowding as churchgoers attend mass in four batches.
Earlier, Catholic Church officials and Cebu City Councilor Dave Tumulak, representing Labella, met to discuss the holding of Misa de Gallo from Dec. 16 to 24.
Tumulak said only 50 percent of total capacity will be allowed inside churches.
It was recommended that churches set up chairs outside, Tumulak said.
He also encouraged churchgoers not to bring their vehicles so that the church grounds can be occupied by massgoers.
Barangay tanods will be deployed in the churches’ premises to ensure that physical distancing and other health protocols are followed.
After the mass, a one-minute interval for people exiting the church will be observed to avoid crowding, said Tumulak.
A prohibition on vending outside churches has been recommended as it has been a treasured Misa de Gallo tradition for many Filipinos to buy food from vendors after the mass.
While Labella earlier said the dawn masses should be confined in churches, Tumulak said bigger chapels may now become possible venues for Misa de Gallo as their capacities can handle more people.
For small chapels, a loudspeaker tuned in to live streamed masses could be set up for the neighborhood to hear, said Tumulak.
All these recommendations discussed during their meeting will be subject to further evaluation, he added.
Tumulak said he will continue to meet with the different parishes in the city to hear other recommendations and concerns.
Meanwhile, Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard Chan will issue a “temporary executive order” adjusting Lapu-Lapu City’s curfew by an hour from the current 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. to 10 p.m to 4 a.m.
Chan told SunStar Cebu he made this decision after churches in the city agreed to hold the traditional dawn masses at 4:30 a.m. beginning Dec. 16.
Aside from adjusting the curfew hours, Chan plans to allow minors and senior citizens to attend Misa de Gallo./ FVQ / JKV