Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia Monday appealed to the National Inter-Agency Task Force (NIATF) to reconsider its rule that limits the size of religious gatherings to only a maximum of 10 persons for areas under General Community Quarantine (GCQ).
Bacolod City is under GCQ until May 31 based on NIATF Resolution No. 37 adopted on May 15.
In his letter to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, NIATF chairperson, Leonardia said that church leaders in the city are pleading to be allowed to hold masses or worship and prayer services with attendance strictly set at maximum of 50 percent of the venue seating capacity, including the celebrant or pastor and their assistants.
They are willing to abide with all the other health protocols during the gatherings such as the mandatory wearing of face masks, marked seats in the pews for social distancing, and disinfection of the venue and seats after each mass or worship/prayer service before the next one, Leonardia said.
“The church leaders are all aware of the health risks in such large gatherings but the need for spiritual nourishment and a connection to the Almighty, at a time of crisis like this, is also deep and overwhelming,” Leonardia said his letter.
“In fact, we believe, allowing the faithful access to their religious rites, services and sacraments, but with careful precautions, can only strengthen our mental and spiritual health that we also need to fight off COVID-10,” he added.
“Filipinos are a people of faith, and it is that faith that will help us survive COVID-19 because, after all, whatever human means we take to defeat this deadly infection will all be futile without the grace of the Almighty,” Leonardia said.*
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