Members of the City Council here have called for the immediate lifting of the total lockdown every Sunday to facilitate the resumption of religious gatherings and other essential activities.
In a resolution passed during its regular session on Tuesday, the council asked Mayor Ronnel Rivera to recall the Sunday movement restrictions and allow residents to practice their “freedom of religion.”
Councilor Franklin Gacal Jr., author of the resolution, said Wednesday the Sunday lockdown has no basis as limited religious gatherings are allowed under the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).
Based on the recommendation of the City Inter-Agency Task Force (CIATF) for the Management of Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases, the city government imposed the lockdown every Sunday in late August following the spike in local transmission of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
However, the movement restriction has been continued even after the downgrading of the city’s quarantine status from GCQ to MGCQ on Oct. 15.
With the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, Gacal said it was only appropriate that the Sunday lockdown be lifted as well.
“The Sunday lockdown deprives the religious of their free exercise of religion. Jurisprudence provides that the freedom of religion enjoys a preferred status among the rights conferred to each citizen by our fundamental charter,” he said in a radio interview.
The official said they are hoping the mayor will heed the City Council’s stand as a “co-equal body” within the local government.
Gacal and other councilors said there is also no scientific basis in implementing the Sunday lockdown.
In response, Rivera said he would consider the City Council’s sentiment but said the decision would depend on the assessment of the CIATF.
“We will continue to evaluate our situation and decide based on what’s best for everyone,” he told reporters.
He argued that the Sunday lockdown was “very helpful” in preventing the spread of Covid-19.
The confirmed Covid-19 cases in the city since March have reached 743, with 25 deaths and 477 recoveries.
The majority of the 241 active cases are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms and are currently undergoing treatment in temporary and barangay isolation facilities. (PNA)