Sara Duterte warns INC leaders of legal action if they defy quarantine order

Rappler.com
Sara Duterte warns INC leaders of legal action if they defy quarantine order
'What kind of a church would expel a member who wants to protect himself or his family?' asks Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Mayor Sara Duterte on Monday, March 16, warned Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) leaders of legal action if they continue to hold worship services even after she had placed the city under community quarantine.

In a statement, Sara also urged INC members not to attend their worship services to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, which had killed 12 people and infected 140 in the country as of Monday.

Sara said that among her directives on the community quarantine is the suspension of mass gatherings, including religious activities, in the city

She warned that the city government will “explore what we can do on the legal side” if the INC continued to defy the order.

The Davao mayor said she understood that it would be difficult for INC members to comply with her appeal. “I know it’s sad for them because their faith is very deep,” she said.

Sara said INC leaders should not expel members for not attending their worship services amid the COVID-19 threat.

“Because what kind of a church would expel a member who wants to protect himself or his family?” she said.

Sara said she learned that the INC continued to defy her orders not to conduct their mass gatherings in the city through an informant.

“He told me that he wanted to invoke citizen’s arrest but I told him do not go near them because you might get infected,” she said.

Sara said praying inside churches would not spare those who attended from the virus.

“Only go out to buy medicine or food, wash your hands with soap and water and maintain social distance,” she added.

Sara also said she was  giving the same reminder to the Muslims in the city.

When told that an Arab missionary was insisting on holding Friday prayers in the mosques, she repeated what she told INC members.

“Your attendance to temple, chuch, facility, center will not prevent you from getting the disease. In fact, if you go there and one of those who came had the virus, you will all get infected,” she said.

Sara even quoted a Hadith (saying) attributed to Muslim and Bukhari, “If you hear of an outbreak of plague in a land, do not enter it, but if the plague breaks out in a place while you are in it, do not leave that place.”

“Pray inside your residences and make use of online platforms,” she said.

For example, a pastor can go live on Facebook, she said. “Let us make use of technology to practice our faith-based activities,” she added.

Most Catholic churches in Metro Manila have suspended Masses starting Saturday, March 14, after the Duterte government announced it was placing the capital region on lockdown due to the novel coronavirus on March 15Rappler.com

 

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