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Sunday, 17 May 2020 08:03

Appeal to review for IATF Guidelines on Religious Gatherings

Most Rev. Broderick S. Pabillo, Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Manila appealed for the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to review and reconsider the guidelines to be implemented with regards to religious gatherings. According to him consultations with religious leaders should also be done. This was expressed in the Prelate's social media post last May 17, 2020.

Bishop Pabillo pointed out that the parameter set on religious gathering is inconsistent because the restrictions to be observed has been based on limiting the number of people and not on the two-meter social distancing health protocol. Seemingly, the guidelines that are to be implemented for religious gathering already imply that Church services are still not allowed during the quarantine period.

 Photo Credit: Facebook Page of Bishop Broderick Pabillo

The limitations would be 5 people during the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) and 10 people for the General Community Quarantine (GCQ).

"In the church we are happy that in both, religious activities are allowed. But at the same time the limitations they set to religious activities are unreasonable - 5 persons for MECQ and 10 persons for MGCQ! It is just another way of saying that you do not have religious activities," he said.

"Where did they get these numbers? Why is it that they do not give the absolute numbers of persons who can enter a store, or work in the office, or in the factory? Do they say that only 10 persons should be in an office, or that 20 persons work in a factory, or that only 5 persons can enter a store at a time? This would be preposterous!" he added.

The prelate is hopeful that the government propose a more reasonable directive for religious services since the religious sector has been involved and compliant to health protocols since the start of the lockdown.

"This directive on religious activities was surely taken without any consultation with the religious sector. This is a problem with the government. They make arbitrary decisions without proper consultation with the sectors involved. So they come out with unreasonable directives!" the bishop said.

According to Veritas News, the Archdiocese of Manila submitted a proposed set of guidelines to IATF through the Department of Health (DOH) two weeks ago but no initial feedback was given. (Hazel Boquiren/RCAM-AOC)