Malacañang on Monday urged Catholic Church officials to brief local government units on the physical distancing measures they plan to implement should the government lift the ban on religious gatherings.
The Palace said on April 30 that religious gatherings will be allowed in areas under general community quarantine as long as safety protocols are observed, only to backtrack later following complaints from local officials.
“Ang sabi nila there is no way we can implement social distancing sa ating mga simbahan at saka sa ating mga other places of worship kasi hindi naman sila pupuwedeng pumasok doon habang sumasamba,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a televised briefing.
“So, kinakailangan po talaga magkaroon ng close coordination between the different churches and their local government units at sila po mismo, they have to present a plan to the local government units na magpapatupad ng quarantine kung paano nila ii-implement ang social distancing.”
Roque was responding to the appeal of Bishop Broderick Pabillo, apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Manila, for the national government to allow religious services to resume. Pabillo assured that physical distancing measures will be implemented, including opening churches at half capacity.
The Palace official said Pabillo’s plea has not been discussed at the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, the government’s highest policymaking body on COVID-19 response. — Virgil Lopez/RSJ, GMA News