Palace asks Church leaders for understanding over mass gathering limit

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 20 2020 03:15 PM

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque and Bishop Broderick Pabillo. File

Pabillo. File]

MANILA - Malacañang appealed Thursday for understanding over the 10-person limit for mass gatherings after a Church leader questioned the policy.

Bishop Broderick Pabillo, who is the current caretaker of the Archdiocese of Manila, questioned the limit, citing restaurants that are allowed to operate to up to 30 percent of capacity.

"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,” Pabillo 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.)

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the decision was reached following consultation with local government units.

"Pasensya na lang po muna... at 10 araw lang ito hanggang Aug. 31," Roque said during a Palace press briefing.

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

A stricter version of the general community quarantine is in effect in Metro Manila, with a uniform curfew, and a 10-person limit on mass gatherings.

For the meantime, Roque said Churches can hold online masses as the limit on mass gatherings is only temporary.

"Maraming mga kaso ng COVID ang bigla na lang nagkahawaan dahil dito sa mga religious worship. So, sa akin, puwede 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 had said that Church leaders are ready to abide by the COVID-19 precautionary guidelines set by the government.