Metro Manila Council allows 50 pct seating capacity in churches during Holy Week

Bianca Dava, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 19 2021 07:32 PM

MANILA - The Metro Manila Council (MMC) has approved religious activities in places of worship during the Holy Week, allowing churches to accommodate up to 50 percent of its seating capacity.

MMC chairman and Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez, however, pointed out Friday that churches should make sure standard health protocols against COVID-19 would be followed during the events.

“Tungkol sa Holy Week, continuous ang aming pag-uusap sa mga pastoral [leaders]. Doon sa allowable, sa simbahan 50 percent seating capacity sa religious activities, provided na lahat ng health protocols masunod po doon —face mask, face shield, distancing, pati pagkuha ng temperature pagpunta sa simbahan,” Olivarez explained. 

(Regarding the Holy Week, our discussions are still ongoing with the pastoral leaders. We are allowing up to 50 percent of seating capacity in churches for their religious activities given that health protocols would be followed.) 

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Devotional processions usually conducted during the Holy Week, however, will be discouraged to prevent mass gatherings after the spike in new COVID-19 infections, he said. 

“Hindi natin papayagan ang mass gathering talaga. Ang prusisyon wala po. Walang bibigyan ng permit ang MMC na magprusisyon ngayong Holy Week na ito,” said the mayor. 

(We will not allow mass gatherings such as processions. The MMC will not give a permit for devotional processions this coming Holy Week.) 

“Ang pagsisimba at pagpunta sa church, 'yun ang okay po, pero 50 percent seating capacity… Wala talagang gathering, lalo ang “Salubong” tapos motorcade.”

(Going to the church is allowed but only up to 50 percent seating capacity. No mass gatherings, Easter tradition of salubong, and motorcades will be allowed.) 

The Philippines on Friday recorded its highest daily tally yet since the pandemic hit the country, with 7,103 new COVID-19 infections. The number of active cases at 73,264 is also considered the highest in nearly 7 months. 

This year’s Holy Week celebration will fall on March 28 to April 4.