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Faithful flood churches

Despite the rain, thousands of Catholic faithful in the city flocked into churches yesterday to attend the start of the nine-day Simbang Gabi.

In his homily at the San Pedro Cathedral mass, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president and Davao Archbishop Romulo Valle urged the faithful to remember their brothers and sisters who were affected by the magnitude 6.9 quake on Sunday.

The Davao City Police Office (DCPO) also reported that no untoward incident happened during the Simbang Gabi yesterday.

Despite this, DCPO spokesperson Capt. Rosario Aguilar said the full alert status will remain.

Aguilar said they have deployed at least 520 operatives for the Monday start of the nine-day religious activity.

The City has been placed on heightened alert status since the start of the on-going Pasko Fiesta last Nov. 22. Around 40,000 security operatives have been deployed for round-the-clock watch.

The DCPO has implemented “one-entrance, one-exit” policy, under its Oplan Bantay Bathala, in all the churches during the Simbang Gabi.

Based on the policy, only one gate will be opened for both entrance and exit points. With this, authorities can easily inspect the bags of anybody entering the church.

“So that there will be no suspicious individuals or groups that can enter the churches, ” she added.

After the mass, all gates will be opened to make it easy for the crowd to exit the church compound.

Aguilar has reminded the public that backpacks, luggage, and other big bags are prohibited inside the church.

The bag prohibition and the one-entrance, one-exit policy have been implemented at the San Pedro Cathedral since the start of the year following the Jan. 27, 2019 bombing of Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Jolo, Sulu.

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