‘Not yet time’: Palace asks for patience as gov’t retains ban on religious gatherings
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Wednesday appealed for the public’s patience after the government maintained restrictions on religious gatherings to prevent the further spread of the novel coronavirus, and instead asked the faithfuls to continue practicing “personal relationship” with God for now.
Earlier, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque announced that the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases decided to keep the prohibition on mass gatherings for religious activities even after a meeting with religious leaders.
Roque said “health considerations take precedence” and it is “not yet time” to allow religious mass gatherings even after the easing of lockdown restrictions.
“Unless we have tamed the doubling rate of the disease, we should not take the risk of allowing public gatherings,” Roque said in an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel.
“Although it is for religious purposes, the reality is, it is still a public gathering that we are not prepared for at this point so we ask for everyone’s patience,” he added.
The IATF currently only allows a maximum of 10 persons in religious gatherings in areas under general community quarantine like Metro Manila.
As for religious mass gatherings in the more relaxed modified general community quarantine, the IATF has yet to come up with the maximum number of people who will be allowed to gather in places of worship, according to Roque.
For now, the Palace official urged faithfuls to maintain their personal relationship with God.
“After all, our relationship with the Creator is personal so we can continue with that personal relationship,” he said.
Religious gatherings have been immediately barred when strict lockdown measures were enforced in mid-March due to the spread of COVID-19, which has already infected almost 19,000 people nationwide as of June 2.
Since then, the Christian-dominated Filipinos shifted to hearing online or televised Mass and religious services.
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