Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte was forced to warn religious group, Iglesia Ni Cristo, with legal action should they continue to hold services amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) community quarantine.
Executive Order No. 10 issued last Sunday mandates the suspension of all mass gatherings in Davao city, including religious activities. Although the provisions intended to curb the spread of COVID-19, Duterte still received reports of INC conducting religious activities and services.
“We already told you through an executive order that all religious ceremonies should be suspended,” Duterte said. She underscored that the executive order meant “the organization itself should suspend all activities. Yet, you still continue to call on your members to go to church.”
Duterte clarified that while she respects their right to their religious beliefs, their health and wellbeing ought to take precedence.
“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 we cannot appeal to INC to suspend their activities, then we are exploring what we can do on the legal side.”
“I ask our brothers and sisters from the INC in Davao to please stop attending your ceremonies,” Duterte appealed.
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