No parades, no Santacruzan: QC limits activities for fiestas, religious festivals

Trishia Billones, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 11 2022 11:12 AM

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MANILA - Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte on Tuesday said she has set rules to limit mass gathering activities associated with festival celebrations to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Belmonte said January and February is "fiesta season" in the city, with the likes of Galak Niño, Pedrista Festival, and the Chinese New Year happening within the period.

"We’ve already released guidelines to limit and restrict activities during fiestas. That’s one of the steps that we are taking," she told ANC's Headstart.

According to a press release published on the city's website last Friday, Belmonte signed a memorandum that prohibited activities such as processions, parades, Santacruzan. Also banned were social gatherings such as fairs, perya, variety shows, fireworks displays, or other public performances.

It also said that public drinking (such as doing it outdoors or on sidewalks), group videoke, or other celebratory gatherings that violate social distancing were not allowed.

Allowed, however, was the conduct of Dragon Dance or Lion Dance activities for Chinese New Year, provided they will be held in a designated area only and cordoned off from the general public. Participants are also expected to be fully vaccinated.

Belmonte also said that she had allowed Eucharistic Celebrations with limited in-person capacity, but some parish priests volunteered to have these done online instead.

"Yung guidelines ko, puwede pa kayong magmisa kasi siyempre, napakahalaga ng fiesta sa community bonding (In my guidelines, you can have a Mass because of course, fiestas are important in community bonding)...We’ve limited but it’s up to the parish priest and the religious congregation if they would like to just do everything online. We will not object to that," she said.

As of January 10, there were about 27,000 active COVID-19 cases in Quezon City, said Belmonte. Of this number, she said 90.61 percent were asymptomatic and there were no severe or critical cases and even deaths.

The city has so far vaccinated some 72 percent of its total population of 2.9 million, said the mayor. It is also set to begin vaccinating children aged 5-11 in February in line with the guidelines from the national government's inter-agency task force.