Palace rejects call to increase number of people who can attend religious gatherings
Malacanang thumbed down on Thursday calls to increase the number of people who can attend in religious gatherings in areas under the general community quarantine, like Metro Manila.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to continue to ban huge gatherings and allow only up to 10 individuals in place of worship like churches is based on experience here and abroad that transmission of coronavirus disease is high in those places.
"Out policy in the religious gatherings is based on history and experience, not only here in the Philippines but in other countries also. It was proven that there were many cases of COVID infection becaue of religious worships," he said in a televised press briefing.
He said churches can hold their activities via online.
Roque said the maximum of 10 individuals who can gather for religious activities is just temporary.
He also recalled that when the medical societies requested President Rodrigo Duterte to impose stricter quarantine classification in Metro Manila just for two weeks, the Catholic Church was one among those which immediately banned religious gatherings.
"So, in the same spirit, to prevent the spread of COVID, we apologize for the meantime and this is not forever," the spokesman added.
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo has said that the 10-person capacity for religious gatherings in areas under GCQ seemed illogical as restaurants and other establishments, which have smaller spaces compared to the churches, are allowed to operate up to 30 percent seating capacity.
Metro Manila is one of the few areas in the country which remain under GCQ. Most places in the country are under modified GCQ. Celerina Monte/DMS