Exemption of priests from number coding sought

By Edu Punay, The Philippine Star

Posted at Feb 24 2014 09:31 AM | Updated as of Feb 24 2014 05:31 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Priests, too, are on call.

And with this nature of their job, an official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) pushed to exempt priests from the number coding scheme.

Fr. Edu Gariguez, executive secretary of the CBCP National Secretariat for Social Action, said they should be granted exemption from the scheme because priests need mobility – especially with the anticipated heavy traffic in the major roads in Metro Manila due to the Skyway 3 extension project.

“We need total mobility that’s why if possible we want to be exempted from coding because the work of a priest doesn’t have a fixed time,” he said.

Gariguez lamented their duties to administer last rites for dying persons are usually jeopardized by immobility caused by the traffic-coding scheme.

“For example, there is a sick call, somebody died or somebody is in a life and death situation... we priests need to be there right away to cater to their pastoral needs,” he said.

The Skyway 3 will connect the North Luzon (NLEX) and South Luzon Expressways (SLEX) with an elevated expressway over Osmeña Highway, linking it with Quirino Avenue in Manila.

“If there’s traffic, our ability to give pastoral ministry will suffer,” Gariguez said.

He said the Mass for weddings or even for funerals may also be delayed if the officiating priest is caught in traffic.

“There will be no problem if the priest is just from the area but if the priest is from elsewhere that might pose a problem,” Gariguez said.