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Philippines: gathering for religious events under quarantine allowed

Philippines: gathering for religious events under quarantine allowed

The Philippines, one of the most religious nations of the region, got an opportunity to gather for religious activities despite the general quarantine. In addition, work in “essential” industries will be allowed, too, according to Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman Harry Roque.

The Philippine authorities should control the rules of allowed religious gatherings, Mr Roque stressed during the virtual briefing. The activity will be permitted as long as the people present will keep a two-meter distance between and among themselves.

“[M]andatory wearing of face mask, face shield, or other facial protective equipment is maintained during the entirety of the [religious] event,” presidential spokesman added.

Amid the general quarantine, approved gatherings include funeral rites led by religious leaders. The presidential office added that the deceased’s immediate family will likewise be allowed to attend the wake, given that they show proof of their relationship to the deceased.

“Pastors, priests, imams, or such other religious ministers whose movement shall be related to the conduct of necrological or funeral rites [will be allowed to attend],” he said.

Taking all these circumstances into account, immediate family members of the deceased from causes other than coronavirus shall be allowed to move from their residences to attend the wake or interment of the deceased upon satisfactory proof of their relationship with the latter and social distancing measures.

The religious gatherings are extremely dangerous amid the virus epidemic

In the past, religious gatherings have been somewhat of a petri dish for the transmission of the virus. In addition, the Philippine government has also allowed the resumption of work in “essential” construction projects and the partial reopening of non-leisure shops in malls such as restaurants and supermarkets.

The agriculture industry, food manufacturing companies, as well as general utility firms, will be allowed to fully open under quarantine, while repair and maintenance services, call centres, and banks are allowed to resume on-site work but only partially. Half of their workforce are still required to work from home, Mr Roque said.