CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga – The city government canceled for the second consecutive year its Maleldo (reenactment of Christ’s Passion) activities, a Lenten tradition highlighted by self-flagellation and actual nailing on the cross of devotees.
Like most areas in the country, the move is a precautionary measure against rising cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
In previous years, the event has lured as many as 50,000 spectators to a makeshift Calvary in Barangays San Pedro Cutud, Sta Lucia, and San Juan here.
City Tourism officer Ching Pangilinan confirmed on Sunday that Mayor Edwin Santiago has issued an Executive Order (EO), in compliance with the order of Governor Dennis Pineda, canceling activities that would promote mass gatherings.
Under the EO, all Holy Week activities from March 28 to April 4 are disallowed. These include the recitation and singing of the Passion of Christ. or the Pabasa. and the Way of the Cross.
“Kailangan natin tulungan ang pamahalaang lungsod at nasyonal na pamahalaan sa pagsugpo ng Covid-19. Siyempre (We need to help the city government and national government to curb Covid-19. Of course), we need to stop the spread of the disease through the cancellation of activities that involve mass gatherings,” Pangilinan said in a video interview.
She believes Fernandinos will comply with the directives as they see that the government is serious in its fight against the pandemic.
“Inaasahan natin susunod sila sa kautusan hindi lang sa city government but also in the provincial government kung saan nagpa-igting ng ibat-ibang pamamaraan para masugpo ang (We expect them to comply with the directives, not only of the city government but also of the provincial government, which have intensified ways to curb) Covid-19,” she said.
“We could solemnly commemorate the passion and death of Christ in more meaningful yet safer ways,” she added.
Rev. Father Marius Roque, rector of the Metropolitan Cathedral, supported the move of the city government and asked Fernandinos to participate in online masses instead.
As of March 27, the city still has 295 active Covid-19 cases, 1,742 recoveries and 88 deaths. (PNA)