Marinduque holds low-key Moriones
The traditional parade of Morion, devotees wearing wooden masks and costumes depicting Roman soldiers, in Marinduque province proceeded this week, but participants had been limited due to health protocols imposed by the government to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government informed Marinduque Gov. Presbitero Velasco Jr., in a letter on March 27, that the Regional Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19 in Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan), granted the request of the local governments of Boac, Torrijos and Gasan to hold their traditional Holy Week activities, including the Moriones.
But officials ordered the “enforcement of strict public health standards, including wearing of face shield and mask; adherence to the number of Moriones penitents and/or other individuals physically present in the controlled environment and apprehension and penalizing COVID-19 safety violators.”
Wilhelm Suyko, the DILG regional director, said the permission was “only in consideration of the observance of the Holy Week.”
Mark Montevirgen, a Morion from Boac, said more than 100 devotees in costumes were joining the Moriones in his town before the pandemic struck.
To prevent the possible spread of the virus during the religious event, all local governments in Marinduque have set their quotas on the number of visitors who will be allowed to enter their localities during Holy Week.
The capital Boac will only allow 2,000 people; Buenavista, 500; Torrijos, 2,000; Sta. Cruz, 1,000; Mogpog, 1,000; and Gasan, 500.Religious tradition
Marinduque’s Moriones is a Holy Week tradition centered on the reenactment of the passion and death of Jesus Christ. Devotees put on elaborately carved masks and colorful costumes to portray Roman soldiers and roam the streets from Holy Monday until Easter Sunday.
In Boac, the local government allowed devotees this year to wear Morion costumes to fulfill their religious vow.
But it limited the number of Morion moving around town to five to 10 per group. These groups are accompanied by two or three persons to control the crowd and ensure that physical distancing is observed.
“(The sight of Morion) automatically creates crowd. As a safety measure, everyone should follow the protocols to prevent the spread of the virus,” Montevirgen said.