DAVAO CITY, Philippines — A member of the city council of Davao recently expressed the belief that an ordinance is no longer necessary to fully implement the ban on backpacks in all worship areas in the city.
This clarification was made by Councilor Mabel Sunga- Acosta, chair of the Committee on Peace and Order and Public Safety of the City Council in the midst of the confusion of the public on the banned items and belongings being implemented by the Davao City Police Office (DCPO) in accordance with the order of Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.
The “No Backpack” policy in all places of worship was ordered by Mayor Sara after the bombing incident at the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral in Jolo, Sulu on January 27.
The order was aimed to help the security forces prevent a possible terror attack in the city despite the implementation of martial law.
“We just need to clarify that and the mayor has control over our peacekeeping forces and reminds not to be abusive in implementing security protocols,” Acosta said.
Mayor Sara has instructed security forces not to allow churchgoers to bring backpacks, big bags, bulky plastic bags, and cartons.
But some confusion came out when the DCPO also prohibited churchgoers to bring sling bags during church services.
On Monday, Mayor Sara made clarification into the issue, emphasizing that the prohibition order only includes the bringing of backpacks, knapsacks and other big bags inside churches and mosques.
“We only banned 4 kinds of packs that the sizes can carry an improvised explosive device. Other related matters, it should be asked to DCPO chief Alexander Tagum,” Mayor Sara said.
The Archdiocese of Davao also issued an advisory last January 29 prohibiting churchgoers in bringing backpacks, knapsacks, and carton boxes to churches.
Acosta also asked the public to be more understanding of the tight security protocols being implemented by authorities as they only want the city to be safe.
She also urged everyone to cooperate and coordinate with the authorities when going to churches. (davaotoday.com)