MANILA – An official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Thursday welcomed the decision of the government to allow religious services with 50 percent of the church or worship venue’s seating capacity in areas under the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).
“It’s better than not being allowed at all,” said Fr. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of CBCP-Permanent Committee on Public Affairs (PCPA) in a statement.
He, however, added that it is “quite complicated though to determine the required 50-percent attendance.”
“It would have been easier to simply follow the DOH protocol of maintaining a one-meter physical distance inside the church,” Secillano added.
According to an article posted on the CBCP news website, Justice Secretary Menardo Gueverra conveyed the decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to the clergy, through Pasig Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara on Wednesday night.
“Religious services in MGCQ areas are allowed up to a maximum of 50 percent of the total seating capacity or venue,” he said.
He added that the rule was adopted on June 3 by the IATF-EID in its amended omnibus guidelines.
Vergara represented the CBCP during the recent meetings between the IATF-EID and the religious sector.
But Guevarra said the decision is “subject to the government’s minimum health standards and any additional protocols imposed by your respective congregations.”
Earlier, several bishops expressed concerns over the limited participation of the people in religious gatherings.
The IATF maintained the 10-people limit on religious gatherings in GCQ areas like Metro Manila where cases of coronavirus disease 2019 remain high. (PNA)