Sara Duterte warns Iglesia Ni Cristo: Violate quarantine, face suit
DAVAO CITY—An irked Mayor Sara Duterte warned the influential religious group Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) to suspend all religious activities in the city amid reports that the INC continued to hold services despite her order placing the entire city on community quarantine.
“We already told you through an executive order that all religious ceremonies should be suspended,” Duterte said after receiving reports that the religious group continued to push through with its religious activities and services.
The local government ordered the suspension of mass gatherings, including religious activities, through several guidelines signed by Duterte to curb the spread of COVID-19.
In Executive Order No. 10 issued on Sunday, March 15, Duterte clarified that the suspension of all religious activities was part of the enforcement of a citywide community quarantine.
It meant “the organization itself should suspend all activities,” the mayor said. “Yet, you still continue to call on your members to go to church,” she said.
While saying she respected religious beliefs, Duterte told INC leaders that taking unnecessary risks to go to church would not spare members from COVID-19.
“I want to remind members of Iglesia Ni Cristo that praying inside the church will not save you from the virus. It will not prevent you from getting infected and from getting sick,” Duterte said.
If the religious group would not heed the executive order, the city government would consider taking legal action against INC, the mayor added.
“If we cannot appeal to INC to suspend their activities, then we are exploring what we can do on the legal side,” Duterte said.
She urged members to listen to her advice because it would be crucial in containing the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.
“I ask our brothers and sisters from the INC in Davao to please stop attending your ceremonies,” Duterte said.
She also called the attention of the University of Mindanao (UM) and Emar Learning Center for reportedly holding classes despite her order to suspend all public gatherings.
Davao City is currently on community quarantine and partial lockdown to stop the spread of COVID-19, which already claimed the life of at least one confirmed patient from Mindanao.
Another person known only as Patient 130 admitted at the Davao Regional Medical Center in Tagum City since March 9 also tested positive for COVID-19, the Department of Health (DOH) here said.
As of Monday (March 16), at least 18 persons under investigation and 64 persons under monitoring have been reported in Davao City.
Edited by TSB
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