Palace says CBCP may send proposal to IATF on holding of religious activities
Malacañang urged on Monday the Catholic Church leadership to submit its proposal to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases on how they intend to hold their religious activities, which will not violate the minimum health standard requirement to arrest the spread of coronavirus disease.
In a virtual press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque recalled that when the IATF initially decided to allow religious gatherings, many local government units opposed this. Thus, the decision was withdrawn.
"So, the initiative to withdraw (decision) for public gatherings for religious services came from the local officials and the IATF respected it," he said.
"But becuse many if not all (members) of the IATF also want to go to church, we invite the Catholic Church to coordinate not only with the local government units on how to implement social distancing, perhaps if the CBCP (Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines) can officially communicate with IATF on how they are going to do it," Roque said.
Specifically, Manila Apostolic Administrator Broderick Pabillo hit the government's directive on the holding of religious gatherings limiting attendees to a maximum of 10 individuals.
He said the IATF restrictions were "laughable" and "unreasonable" considering the different sizes of the churches.
Instead, Pabillo said the government should impose a one- meter or two-meter distance among parishioners.
Pabillo has also admitted that quarantine rules have tremendously affected the finances of the parishes in the country.
Roque said the Palace would welcome if Pabillo could send his proposals to the IATF.
In the case of Iglesia Ni Cristo, Roque said it submitted a proposal to double the number of services so the capacity of their churches would be reduced by 50 percent and, thus, social distancing could properly be enforced.
Meanwhile, as to the liquor ban, Roque maintained that it would be up to the LGUs to decide on whether it would be implemented or not. Celerina Monte/DMS