No decision yet if large religious gatherings resume in GCQ-Palace

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Malacañang said Thursday the government has no decision yet if large religious gatherings would be allowed during GCQ or general community quarantine. 

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said they welcomed the detailed recommendations of the representatives from different churches on how to implement physical distancing in religious activities. The government’s task force however, would still review the proposals in their next meeting. 

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The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF) met with some church representatives virtually on Wednesday.

“Wala pa po. Bagama’t natuloy po yung konsultasyon natin sa mga iba’t ibang mga simbahan. Natutuwa naman po ang mga umattend na IATF dahil detalyado po ang kanilang mga proposals. Mukha naman pong pupwede ipatupad po ‘yan. Pero sa ngayon po wala pa pong desisyon,” Roque said when asked about the new policy on religious gatherings.

(Nothing yet, even though our consultation with various churches pushed through. The IATF members who attended were pleased because their proposals were detailed. These may be implemented, but for now, there is no decision.)

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“Hindi pa rin po natin pinapayagan ang pagpupulong for religious purposes. So hanggang lima hanggang sampu lang po ang pupuwede,” he said.

(Gatherings for religious purposes are still prohibited. Such activities will still be limited to five persons only.)

Roque said the IATF could discuss the proposal from the religious leaders this week or next week. “Antayin na lang po natin ang desisyon ng IATF (Let’s just wait for the decision of the IATF),” he said.

For areas under the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), religious gatherings are currently limited to five persons only and 10 persons for those in general community quarantine (GCQ) areas.

Apostolic administrator of Manila Bishop Broderick Pabillo earlier appealed to the government to allow religious services to resume in GCQ areas as worship or masses are “essential” to strengthen the Filipino’s resilience during COVID-19 crisis.

Pabillo also said the Catholic Church submitted recommendations to IATF:

  •  for churches to reopen at half-capacity
  •  implementation of physical distancing during religious services
  •  more Mass services to avoid gathering of crowds
  •  for priests to wear face masks
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