MANILA – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday said indoor videoke singing sessions limited to members of a household is allowed.
In a Laging Handa briefing, DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, however, said inviting neighbors to join the singing session is a different story.
“Wala naman pong masama kung kayo ay kumanta sa loob ng inyong bahay. Ngunit kung kayo ay nasa labas na ng inyong bakuran o kahit nasa loob ng bakuran, kung nag-iimbita ka ng kapitbahay na pumunta sa iyong bahay (There is no problem if you sing inside your house. But if you are already outside your house or maybe inside your house but you invite neighbors to come), that becomes a public exercise of karaoke. We highly discourage public karaoke. Pero kung kayo ay dalawa o tatlo at magkakalayo naman, wala naman sigurong masama dyan (But if you are only two or three inside the house and you are far from each other, we don’t see anything wrong with it),” Malaya said.
He said videoke and karaoke bars would remain closed in compliance with quarantine protocols amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
“Bawal po ang mga videoke establishments and karaoke bars (Videoke establishments and karaoke bars are not allowed to open). Under recent IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) regulations, only restaurants are allowed. So if there is a karaoke bar and it operates with people singing, bawal po yan (that is not allowed),” Malaya said.
He said based on recent pronouncements of the Department of Health (DOH), sharing of microphones has a much higher chance of causing virus spread as compared to normal talking.
“According to the DOH, based on recent studies, in particular, aerosol science and technology journal studies, loud singing increases viral particles spread by 449 percent. That is the likelihood that the virus can spread whenever a person is singing as compared to normal talking. Given these findings by the scientists, by our health professionals, the DILG supported the call of the DOH to ban videoke sessions this Christmas. What we want is a solemn celebration of families and no one would visit a neighbor’s home,” Malaya said.
Reminding the public and the government’s nine-month ordeal to prevent the spread of Covid-19, Malaya said community singing events in barangay halls or karaoke singing among neighbors should be waived for the holiday season, as these could attract more people and lead to a mass gathering.
As to what sanctions should be imposed, Malaya said it depends on the ordinances of local government units (LGUs) as the statement of Interior Secretary Eduardo Año merely discourages the use of karaoke while encouraging the localities to pass ordinances that would penalize the violators.
In a radio interview, Año said on Thursday said all Metro Manila mayors agreed with the DOH’s call to ban the use of videoke during the Christmas season.
“Marami namang mga existing ordinansa na ang ipinasa ng ating mga LGU katulad ‘yung pagbabawal sa pagka-caroling, pagbabawal sa mga Christmas Party, so isama na natin dito ‘yung mga..nagkakahawaan katulad ng karaoke session (There are many existing ordinances enacted by our LGUs like the ban on caroling, Christmas party so we can include here events that may lead to transmission of Covid-19 like karaoke session,” he said. (PNA)