IATF allows church gatherings up to 30 pct capacity in NCR Plus

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 21 2021 11:15 AM | Updated as of May 21 2021 01:29 PM

IATF allows church gatherings up to 30 pct capacity in NCR Plus 1
Priests of the archdiocese of Manila gathered to pray for the thousands of lives lost due to COVID19 during a holy mass led by Manila Apostolic administrator Broderick Pabillo inside the Manila Cathedral on May 8, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File

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. 

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