Zamboanga City – City Mayor Maria Isabelle “Beng” Climaco-Salazar has issued an executive order, setting the guidelines on the observance of Ramadan by the Muslim community in Zamboanga City.
Executive Order 655 signed by the mayor last April 30 reminded the general public to follow the mandatory wearing of face masks and face shields, practicing strict social distancing of at least 2 meters, bringing of small bottle of alcohol, reducing the time of interactions with persons other than members of household, and other precautionary practices.
Section 3 of EO 655 mandates that religious gatherings, especially voluntary in nature (i.e. taraweeh and night prayers, conduct of Islamic lectures/naseehats, etc.) are encouraged to be done at home whenever possible.
When done in mosques, attendees shall observe a maximum seating capacity of 50% of the venue or less.
Specifically, Section 4 of the executive order sets the following guidelines for religious worship in mosques.
- Mosques shall regulate the number and flow of people entering, attending and departing from said venue to ensure safe distancing at all times.
- Place a sign where worshippers can see if the mosque is already filled with the maximum number of capacity or assign a leader to control the number of worshippers inside the mosque.
- If the mosque remains open, advise congregants to make wudhu at home and bring their own prayer mats. If wudhu has to be done in the mosque, remove towel and provide disposable paper towels instead.
- Use culturally and religiously sanctioned greetings that avoid physical contact, such as waving, nodding or placing the hand over the heart. Handshakes and acts of brotherhood- embracing shall be strictly prohibited.
- The conduct of religious observances (prayers, Friday khutbah/sermons, naseehat/lectures) shall be kept to the shortest time possible.
- When not in use during prayer times, mosques must be kept closed. No standby, unnecessary meetings or other form of socialization shall be allowed.
The executive order under Section 5 also regulates religious worships in public places and outdoor events like Iftar, Suhoor, Prayers, etc. if possible.
Otherwise, ensure that the indoor venue has enough space to accommodate participants with appropriate physical distancing of at least 2 meters as well as adequate ventilation and airflow.
On the celebration of Eid, marking the end of fasting month, Section 7 stipulates that the Eid prayer shall comply with all provisions contained in EO 566, as applicable, and every participant must comply with the minimum public health standards.
Eid prayers and khutbah/sermon shall be conducted in the shortest, practical time possible.
Further, the executive order provides that chairpersons of barangays where mosques or other similar venues are located within their jurisdiction shall prohibit the congregation of people outside of the venues. They are also ordered to implement EO 566 and disseminate information to their respective constituents.
The Barangay Sita Task Force shall include in their functions and actively monitor the strict compliance of their constituents to the order. (LGU Public Information Office)