CBCP cautions faithful of COVID as more people allowed at religious services

By Jimmyley E. Guzman

PASIG CITY, Feb, 14 (PIA) — While some health protocols are now being relaxed in general community quarantine (GCQ) areas including Metro Manila, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) public affairs committee head, Fr. Jerome Secillano is urging the faithful not to be complacent and still observe preventive measures and distancing rules against COVID-19.

“We urge the public to still exercise caution as COVID-19 hasn’t been extinguished yet from our midst. We are still not safe from this virus and its unpredictable nature makes it really a threat to everyone’s health,” said Secillano.

Starting Monday, February 15, more people will be allowed at religious services, as announced by Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque during the Laging Handa Public Briefing on Friday.

Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID) has allowed 50 percent (50%) seating or venue capacity at religious services, from the current limit of 30 percent (30%), in areas under GCQ.

Bishop Broderick Pabillo, administrator of the Manila archdiocese, had earlier asked the government to consider increasing church capacity during services.

He made the statement after the OCTA research team reported no spike in COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila after the Christmas holidays and last month’s Feast of the Black Nazarene.

Pabillo stressed that religious gatherings are nothing to be afraid of when proper mitigations are in place.

According to the CBCP, most dioceses in the country are in areas under the more relaxed modified GCQ, where churches may hold services at 50 percent seating capacity. (NCR)