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IATF to review religious gatherings, construction work for areas under GCQ


The government will consider whether or not to allow the resumption of religious gatherings and construction work in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ), presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Thursday.

Roque reconsidered his earlier statement saying that religious gatherings and essential work will be allowed in areas under GCQ, telling reporters that the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases will discuss the matter on Friday.

“Pinutakte po ako ng protesta galing po sa mga governors at mayors, iyong mga areas na nasa GCQ,” he said in a television interview.

“So, ngayon po dahil hindi naman tayo puwedeng magbingi-bingihan sa mga protestang ito, minabuti ko po na ibalik muli itong dalawang bagay na ito sa IATF.”

He also said that a number of local government officials questioned how social distancing can be enforced in big construction projects, but explained that the decision was initially made to revive the economy.

In a press briefing earlier in the day, the spokesman said essential work and religious gatherings will be allowed in areas under GCQ so long as social distancing and other safety protocols will be observed.

Mass gatherings, including religious activities, are not allowed in areas under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

Areas under ECQ (Enhanced Community Quarantine) from May 1 to 15 due to their high risk for coronavirus transmission are National Capital Region, Central Luzon except Aurora, CALABARZON, Pangasinan, Benguet, Baguio City, Iloilo province, Cebu province, Cebu City, and Davao City.

“Nagulat nga po ako sa dami ng reklamo kasi ang akala ko kapag GCQ na e maraming matutuwa. Sa katunayan po, lahat po ng governors at mayors ng Northern Luzon ay nagreklamo bakit hindi sila nanatili sa ECQ,” Roque said.

“Kaya po nakikiusap ako dahil ito po ay naka-table na po sa IATF, sa pagpupulong bukas. Siguro po, huwag muna nating ituloy dahil ang concern naman po nila ay balido,” he added. -- Julia Mari Orndeo/BAP, GMA News

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