MANILA – The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has allowed the conduct of once-a-day religious gatherings from April 1 (Maundy Thursday) to April 4 (Easter Sunday), Malacañang announced on Friday.
“Mabuting balita po para sa gustong magsimba ngayong Semana Santa. Pinayagan po ng inyong IATF ang once-a-day religious gatherings mula a-uno hanggang a-kuwatro ng Abril (Good news for people who want to attend Mass during Holy Week. The IATF allowed once-a-day religious gatherings from April 1 to 4),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said during the “Laging Handa” program aired over state-run PTV-4.
The IATF-EID initially prohibited religious services in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, and Laguna from March 22 to April 4 amid the spike in coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) infections.
Its recent pronouncement came ahead of the country’s observance of Holy Week from March 28 to April 4.
Roque, also acting as IATF-EID spokesperson, said the task force approved the conduct of once-a-day religious services from April 1 to 4 to allow the faithful to observe Holy Week.
He, however, said certain protocols should still be observed during the conduct of the religious activities to keep the public safe from Covid-19.
“Kinakailangang sundin ang maximum indoor seating capacity na 10 porsyento sa lahat na oras. Hinihikayat din na ang pagpasok sa mga simbahan o venues ay sa pamamagitan po ng reservation para matiyak na masusunod ang 10 percent capacity limitation (The maximum indoor seating capacity of 10 percent should be observed at all times. It is also encouraged that entry to churches or venues would be done through reservation to ensure compliance with the 10 percent capacity limitation),” Roque said.
He noted that gatherings and the conduct of religious activities outside the church or venue are prohibited.
“Ipinagbabawal ang paggamit ng audio-video systems sa labas ng simbahan o venue habang mayroong misa o worship service (The use of audio-video systems outside the church or venue while the Mass or worship service is being celebrated is prohibited),” Roque said.
He also said live singing would be “strictly limited”, encouraging instead the use of recorded singing, as well as attendance through various online platforms.
“Inatasan (ang) local barangay units at local units ng PNP (Philippine National Police) na ipatupad ang mga nasabing protocols (The local barangay and PNP units have been directed to carry out these protocols),” Roque said.
The IATF-EID’s fresh directive came after Manila Apostolic Administrator Bishop Broderick Pabillo announced that the Archdiocese of Manila would resume its religious services on March 24 “within 10 percent” of the church capacity.
The Archdiocese of Manila covers the cities of Manila, Pasay, Makati, Mandaluyong, and San Juan. (PNA)