TF-Davao, church workers join hands vs. terrorism

By Che Palicte

July 8, 2020, 6:08 pm

DAVAO CITY – Task Force Davao (TFD) and the workers of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Davao have agreed to strengthen security measures against terrorism, amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) crisis.

TFD conducted a security meeting on Tuesday to reorient the security officers and administrative officers of local Roman Catholic churches under the Parish Disaster Action Response Team (PDART) on safety and security measures as well as quarantine rules and guidelines for religious services.

Under the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) quick guide released on July 1, the city government allowed religious ceremonies provided that only 50 percent of the capacity of the place of worship is utilized.

Church ceremonies are only allowed during Mondays to Saturdays as there will be no mass or worship on Sundays. Weddings, baptism, other ceremonies are for family members only, up to a maximum of 25 persons.

In a statement Wednesday, Col. Consolito Yecla, TFD commander, said the security and safety measures agreed between the task force and the church workers include the installation of closed-circuit televisions (CCTVs), establishment of parking buffer zones, and the prohibition garbage bins inside churches.

“They were briefed on the role of every individual on the new “May Nakita? Dapat Magsalita!” anti-terror campaign launched by the city government of Davao. Also, the strengthening of the churches’ call for churchgoers’ cooperation of the four acts of the culture of security: volunteer, report, remind and participate,” Yecla said.

During the meeting, the participants suggested that the local archbishop issue a directive reminding churchgoers of the "no backpack policy, no jacket policy," and the prohibition of non-transparent water containers inside the churches.

“Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, our appreciation of security should be greater since the mandatory wearing of masks and PPEs makes facial and other physical identification of terrorists harder,” Yecla said.

Yecla said the TFD will conduct further training for the church workers to heighten their security and safety awareness. (PNA)