By NITZ ARANCON
CHURCHES and mosques in the city remained jampacked amid tight security measures that were stepped up following the recent bomb attacks in Jolo, Sulu and in Zamboanga City.
Msgr. Rey Monsanto, parish priest of the Eco-Church in Barangay Kauswagan, said security concerns did not affect attendance in Roman Catholic churches here on Sunday.
“Bisan sa among mga kapilya dinhi sa mga sitio nga sakop sa Kauswagan, daghan man gihapon ang mga manimbahay,” he said.
Monsanto said the high turnout of churchgoers was indicative that Catholic devotees in the city were unfazed by the recent bomb explosions inside and outside the church in Jolo, and the grenade attack on a mosque in Zamboanga.
Monsanto however said police security was tight at the Eco-Church.
He said while Eco-Church did not implement the “no-backpack policy” suggested by the police, officers and barangay tanod members insisted on inspecting bags outside.
Monsanto said the church opened only one door as part of its internal security measures to make it easier for authorities to check on people going inside.
The Iglesia Filipina Independiente also said its churches in the city also noted a high turnout during its Sunday services.
IFI Bishop Felixberto Calang said city police director Senior Supt. Nelson Aganon sent officers to their churches “pero among gi-ingnan ang mga pulis nga dili na kinahanglan ang ilang presensiya kay ang among manimbahay halos man ka-ila ang tanan.”
Aside from that, Calang said, the IFI also has its own church marshals.
“Kon dunay bag-o pang nagsimba sa amo, i-welcome siya sa atong church marshal. Pangotan-on siya taga asa siya. Pina-agi sa among pag-welcome. Deterrent na kini sa mga daotang tawo,” he said.
Even the mosques here were jampacked during the Friday services, said Mohammad Gundarain, presidente of Oro Jamaah.
Gundarain said his group closely coordinated to the police and asked that mosques in the city be properly secured as a measure to avoid an attack similar to what was carried out in Zamboanga City
He said Muslims in the city were advised to bring backpacks or bags to the mosques.
“Dili man kinahanglan nga magdala pa ug bag sa oras sa pag-ampo,” said Gundarain.