20 held for drinking binge at Manila North Cemetery

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    OVER 20 individuals were arrested by the Manila police for drinking alcohol products at the Manila North Cemetery Saturday night in violation of COVID-19 protocols.

    MPD Station 3 commander Lt. Col. John Guaigui said the police got a tip that there was a small gathering of people within the cemetery premises who were having a drinking spree.

    Guiaigui said 22 individuals were arrested by the police for violating the Manila City ordinance prohibiting alcohol drinking in public places. He pointed out that “a cemetery is considered a public place.”

    He added the individuals were also not wearing face masks and were violating the physical distancing protocol when the police arrived.

    The Manila City government has issued City Ordinance 5555 prohibiting drinking in public, and Ordinance No. 8627 mandating the wearing of face masks and the observance of physical distancing to curb the further transmission of the coronavirus.

    Persons who violate the city regulations face a fine of up to P5,000 each.

    Guiagui said initial investigation showed the violators were guests in a baptismal ceremony held earlier Saturday.

    Meanwhile, Manila Apostolic Administrator Bishop Broderick Pabillo yesterday said attending the traditional Simbang Gabi masses, whether physically or virtually, will give the faithful similar blessings.

    Pabillo said the Lord understands the predicament brought about by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. “If we are talking about the blessings, the devotion to the Lord, it is just the same,” said Pabillo in a radio interview.

    “The Lord understands the situation, especially in cases of the sick, elderly, and children,” he added.

    The prelate said this is the reason why all dioceses and archdioceses will be making online masses a staple during the nine-day Masses in anticipation of Christmas.

    Pabillo said the one thing that will be missing in online Masses is the availability of the Holy Communion.

    “To some, it is important for them to have face-to-face Masses, especially in being able to receive the Holy Communion,” he said.

    Pabillio said that to accommodate more churchgoers, churches will also be holding more Simbang Gabi masses.

    Simbang Gabi is a nine-day series of dawn Masses leading to Christmas Eve traditionally practiced by Filipino Catholics from December 16 to 24.

    It is a common belief among Filipinos that if a devotee is able to complete all nine days of the Simbang Gabi, their prayers will be answered and God will grant their personal intentions.

    In his homily yesterday (Sunday), Pabillo said it will be welcome news that the Filipino faithful are equally excited about the upcoming Simbang Gabi and the coming of Christ.

    He said this is because it shows that they are not just excited about Christmas being a commercialized occasion. – With Gerard Naval

    “Many of us are excited for Christmas as they are waiting for their gifts, family reunions, banquets, and bonuses. Yes, they make us happy. But let us level up our anticipation,” said the bishop.

    “Let us not just wait for material or secular things. Let us be more excited with the coming of Jesus, who will bring us our salvation,” added Pabillo.