Several Catholic faithful assailed the authorities, particularly the Davao City Police Office (DCPO), for prohibiting them from entering the church despite they were bringing non-backpack bags.
But DCPO Director Alexander Tagum insisted that “No Backpack Policy” includes all other bags, except for small purses.
An elderly faithful who was barred from entering the church as she was bringing a sling bag containing her medication and water lamented that the policy is misleading.
“I though it only prohibits backpacks,” said Aling Tinay who brought her three grandchildren for the Sugat, the early morning Easter Sunday church activity.
Col. Tagum clarified that the policy includes other bags.
It only exempts coin purses enough to place a cellular phone.
Tagum said such policy was also agreed upon with Archbishop Romulo Valles.
The “No Backpack Policy” has been implemented since the January 27 bombings of a Catholic church in Jolo, Sulu.
It was observed during the Holy Week that many churchgoers were still bringing bags as they attempted to enter the church.
Some who brought bags did not enter the church anymore while others left their belongings at the gate.
Col. Consolito Yecla, the Task Force Davao commander, said they allowed those bringing “light” bags to enter.
“Just bigger than wallet size,” he said.
Both Tagum and Yecla said they have been reminding the public about the policy.
Even during the masses, priests always remind the public not to bring any bags, including backpacks, knapsacks, and shoulder bag, boxes and other items that are included in the policy.