MANILA — The inter-agency task force leading the country's COVID-19 response has raised the cap on religious gatherings in Metro Manila and surrounding Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal provinces, until the end of May, a member of the body said on Friday.
The IATF previously set the cap for religious gatherings at 10 percent of a venue capacity in the NCR Plus area, home to about 24 million people, which is under general community quarantine with "heightened restrictions" until May 31.
In a meeting on Thursday, the IATF allowed religious to fill up to 30 percent of a venue's capacity in NCR Plus until the end of the month, said Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, a member of the task force.
Malacañang and IATF spokesman Harry Roque confirmed the IATF issued a resolution for the 30-percent cap on religious gatherings.
"Pero iyan po ay pinaubaya sa mga lokal na pamahalaan," he said in a televised public briefing. "Kinakailangan ang mag-authorize ng 30 percent ay mga lokal na pamahalaan."
(That was left up to the local governments. Local governments need to authorize the 30-percent limit.)
The Metro Manila Council, where the 17 mayors of the capital region belong, has allowed religious gatherings at 30-percent venue capacity, he noted.
With around 1.6 million COVID-19 cases and19,641 deaths, the Philippines has the second highest of tally of coronavirus infections in Southeast Asia, next to Indonesia.