Gov’t allows religious services in MECQ areas

Gov’t allows religious services in MECQ areas

The mayors of Metro Manila join Bishop Broderick Pabillo in consecrating the country to the Immaculate Heart of Mary at the Manila Cathedral on May 13. COURTESY OF ROMAIN GARY EVANGELISTA

By CBCP News

May 16, 2020

Manila, Philippines

The government has allowed the holding of religious services, albeit highly restricted, during the coronavirus pandemic.

As quarantine measures eased in many parts of the country, authorities allowed church services to resume while health protocols such as physical distancing and wearing of face masks are strictly observed.

In areas placed under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) like Metro Manila, religious gatherings would be limited to five persons only, according to state-run Philippine News Agency.

Authorities also allowed church services in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) as long as the number of participants will not exceed 10.

Mass gatherings are still banned in areas under ECQ such as the cities of Cebu and Mandaue.

“Unauthorized” public gatherings also remain prohibited in places where MECQ and GCQ are implemented.

The Archdiocese of Manila was among those that appealed for the resumption of church services particularly in low-risk areas for Covid-19.

Bishop Broderick Pabillo, the administrator of Manila, said that “religious services are also essential services” during the pandemic.

“When the decision makers consider the essential services to be allowed, they should also consider the opening of the churches and its services as important,” Pabillo said.

“Of course, necessary precautions should be taken, like the proper social distancing and the sanitation practices to be done in the churches,” he said.

Manila and other dioceses have earlier released a list of restrictions in holding church services, including a ban on crowded weddings and baptisms.

The Philippines has 12,305 Covid-19 cases, 2,561 recoveries, and 817 deaths.