As religious services are now allowed under the Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ), although still with restrictions, the Task Force (TF) Davao and the workers of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Davao on Tuesday agreed to strengthen security measures against terrorism amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

TF Davao conducted a security meeting to re-orient the security officers and administrative officers of the churches on the safety and security measures already in place before lockdowns since March.

Colonel Consolito Yecla, the Commander of the Task Force Davao, said the security and safety measures include the putting up of CCTVs, establishing parking buffer zones, and prohibiting garbage bins inside churches.

“They were briefed on the role of every individual on the new “May Nakita? Dapat Magsalita!” anti-terror campaign launched by the city government of Davao. Also, the strengthening of the churches’ call for churchgoers’ cooperation of the four acts of the culture of security: volunteer, report, remind and participate,” Yecla added.

Yecla said health and security measures must be implemented even if only half of the capacity of churches are allowed during services.

“Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, our appreciation of security should be greater since the mandatory wearing of masks and PPEs makes facial and other physical identification of terrorists harder,” he said.

During the meeting, the participants suggested the issuance of a memorandum circular by the archbishop to remind churchgoers of the no backpack policy, no jacket policy, and no non-transparent water containers inside the churches.

A volunteer group called the Parish Disaster Action Response Team (PDART) composed of security officers of the churches was created to oversee the church surroundings. The Task Force Davao will also conduct seminars and training for them.

The meeting on Tuesday, July 7, 2020, at the San Pedro Cathedral Auditorium, was attended by the church security team, the Parish Disaster Action Response Team (PDART), and other church personnel from 43 Diocesan Churches in the city. CIO