No room for dogs in Albay church, parish priest rules
LEGAZPI CITY—There is no room for stray dogs in the centuries-old Nuestra Señora de la Porteria, or the Lady of the Gate Parish Church in the town of Daraga in Albay province.
Fr. Ricky Bermas, parochial vicar of the parish church, said they have decided to impound the numerous stray dogs that abound the church premises as they have been dirtying the grounds with their wastes and leaving foul smell everywhere.
The Our Lady of the Gate church, also known as Daraga Church, was built in 1773 atop the Sta. Maria Hill in Barangay San Roque overlooking Mayon Volcano. It is one of the country’s most visited churches.
The Baroque church has been attracting both local and foreign tourists for, among others, its striking lime-coated white façade and walls made of volcanic rocks.
The church’s eastern and western façade, belfry and baptistery have been listed as national cultural treasure in 2007 by the National Museum of the Philippines.
According to Bermas, capturing the stray dogs has become necessary because “our main objective … is the welfare of everyone and we would also like to keep our surroundings clean and green.”
He said it would not look good on the church’s administrators if dog manure are scattered and seen everywhere.
He recalled an instance when parishioners hearing a Mass were so distracted because the church was engulfed with a foul smell, apparently because one of the churchgoers had stepped on a dog waste.
Bermas said they would like to keep and maintain a “very good image” since Daraga Church is considered a tourist site in Albay next to the Cagsawa Church ruins in Barangay Busay.
Bermas said six stray dogs had been captured since they started the operation, but three were already claimed by their owners. The remaining dogs would be fed and kept in an improvised impounding area, he said.
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