MANILA – Malacañang on Wednesday said the faithful can still have a “personal” connection with God even sans the conduct of religious activities amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the statement, as he apologized over the government’s move to keep its decision to still prohibit mass gatherings for religious purposes as a precaution against the further spread of Covid-19 in the country.
“Although it is for religious purposes, the reality is it is still a public gathering that we’re not prepared for at this point. So we ask for everyone’s patience,” Roque said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel. “So I think just patience and after all, our relationship with the Creator is personal so we can continue with that personal relationship.”
Members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), during their meeting on Monday, have agreed to keep its restrictions on religious activities due to the risk of having more people getting infected with Covid-19.
Roque said the IATF-EID believes it is not the proper time to allow religious gatherings in the country.
He said the government may only permit the conduct of religious activities, in the event that it is able to bring down the doubling rate of Covid-19 infections.
“Unfortunately, health considerations take precedence. And it was finally agreed that it’s not yet time even that we’re still only on GCQ unless we have actually tamed the doubling rate of the disease which will not take the risk of allowing public gatherings,” Roque said.
In May, the IATF-EID issued guidelines on religious activities that will be held in areas placed under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) and general community quarantine (GCQ).
The maximum number of people who can attend religious gatherings in places under MECQ and GCQ must be five and 10, respectively, based on the IATF-EID guidelines.
No areas in the country are currently under MECQ.
On the other hand, Pangasinan, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Metro Manila, Central Visayas, Zamboanga City, Davao City, and Mandaue City are under GCQ from June 1 to 15.
Modified GCQ (MGCQ) was implemented in the rest of the country until June 15.
Covid-19 threat is ‘real’
Roque reminded the public to continue to heed the government’s quarantine rules, stressing that the threat posed by Covid-19 is “real.”
He said Filipinos should remain “careful” to avoid the possibility of acquiring the infectious disease.
“Again, I appeal to the people, whether be it GCQ, MGCQ, we still have a ‘Q’. We still have a quarantine. The threat is there. It is real. The only way we can beat the spread of the disease is by observing social distancing, staying at home unless necessary, [and] observing minimum hygiene. Keep safe,” he said.
Roque said the public should also continue to be “conscious” that there is still no vaccine or treatment for Covid-19.
He also reiterated that individuals aged 21 and below remain prohibited to leave homes except when indispensable under the circumstances for obtaining essential goods and services or for work.
“We’re doing this [based] on science. And it has been shown that in addition to the threat to young people, it’s the fact that they are the spreaders. That’s the more important consideration,” Roque said. (PNA)