Bishop questions 10-person capacity for mass gathering in churches under GCQ


Posted at Aug 20 2020 09:38 AM | Updated as of Aug 20 2020 03:38 PM

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MANILA (UPDATE)-- Catholic Bishop Broderick Pabillo on Thursday raised his concerns over the 10-person capacity for mass gatherings allowed in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ). 

“Sana lang ang hinihiling namin kung bibigyan nila ang mga business enterprises ng mas maraming kapasidad, dapat ang simbahan ganun din,” said Pabillo, Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Manila.

(We only hope that while they give business enterprises higher capacity, the same should also be given to the Church.)

Metro Manila, the provinces of Rizal, Laguna, Bulacan, and Cavite transitioned to GCQ from the stricter modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) on Wednesday.

Under GCQ, gatherings will be limited to 10 people, said Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque. In July, religious gatherings of up to 10 percent of a venue's capacity were allowed in areas under GCQ.

“Ang problema, pabago-bago ang kanilang desisyon. Aadjust ulit tayo. Ganun naman talaga ang panahon, nagbabago-bago, pati yung virus, mag-aadjust talaga tayo,” Pabillo said in an interview on ABS-CBN Teleradyo. 

(The problem is they are inconsistent in their decision. The virus is changing so we have to adjust.)

Salons and barbershops can continue to offer services except for full-body massages. Food establishments can also resume dine-in services. However, the capacity will be determined by the local government unit where these establishments are located.

“Parang ‘di naman tama na bibigyan mo ng 30 percent ang mga restaurant, tapos sa simbahan 10 tao lang. Mas malaki naman yung simbahan kesa sa restaurant. Parang ‘di logical,” he said. 

(It doesn't seem right that restaurants can open up to 30 percent and churches are limited to 10 people. The church is bigger than the restaurant. It doesn't seem logical.)

He added that parishioners wear masks and even face shields the entire time they are in the church.

Malacañang, however, appealed to the prelate for understanding as it noted that the decision was reached following consultation with local government units.

"Pasensya na lang po 10 araw lang ito hanggang Aug. 31," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said. 

(I'm sorry but this is only for 10 days until Aug. 31)

"Maraming mga kaso ng COVID ang bigla na lang nagkahawaan dahil dito sa mga religious worship. So, sa akin, pwede naman po mag-online tayo sa ngayon at obserbahan yung 10 persons dahil ito naman ay temporary lamang," Roque said.

(Many cases of COVID were because of religious worship. For me, we can do online services to observe the 10-person limit temporarily.)

Roque added that he hopes Churches would extend the same understanding now given that Church leaders were the first to stop the conduct of physical masses earlier this month following the call of health workers for a "timeout" as COVID-19 infections in the capital surged.

"In the same spirit po, para maiwasan yung pagkalat ng COVID, pasensya na po muna at hindi naman ito forever," Roque said.

(This is not forever. It's only to avoid the spread of COVID-19.)

Pabillo said Church leaders are ready to abide by the guidelines set by the government which are meant to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).