BACOLOD City – The management of St. John’s Institute (SJI) which houses the Queen of Peace or Hua Ming church issued an apology on Feb. 1, 2017 to churchgoers and the general public for the inconvenienced caused by the sudden implementation of newer and stricter security measures.
SJI president Cesar Villanueva clarified that the new security measures were supposed to be implemented on Feb. 3 yet after all stakeholders and the community were informed of the setup.
Over the weekend however, Villanueva said their security team called their attention that threats of a mass action from some sectors that may hamper school activities were imminent, thus, for the security of the students, they decided for the immediate implementation of the new security measures.
“It was not our intention to bar the faithful from attending mass at QPP and there were miscommunications in relaying the new measures to the guards, thus creating confusion and we profusely apologize to the churchgoers who were inconvenienced in the past two days,” Villanueva said.
He stressed that they immediately informed Bacolod Bishop Patrick Buzon of their actions and sincerely apologized to him too for initiating the same but “our primordial concern is the safety of our students.”
“We know the good Bishop understands our dilemma and we have been fine-tuning our new rules and regulations governing security issues so as not to further inconvenience the church goers,” Villanueva added.
“Since the start of the year and in concurrence with the various stakeholders of the school, SJI has been distributing car stickers and gate passes to the families of their students to ensure that only those with markings can enter the school compound during school days.”
In as much as management would like to continue to have an open-gate policy “we cannot anymore compromise the safety of our students,” Villanueva said, citing alleged attempted kidnappings and robbery that happened in the school premises last year.
“This too, is the primary reason why we have asked the Diocese to revert us to a chaplaincy for the past three years now and we are hoping our appeal will be heard by the good Bishop,” he added.
Villanueva clarified that the QPP will remain open to those who wish to worship there but at the moment, they will only allow drop-off of churchgoers with deference to the elderly and persons with disabilities.
“We hope the public and the faithful will understand the situation and pray with us for normalcy in light of the escalating situation in our campus,” he said.