BY CHRYSEE G. SAMILLANO
Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia has issued Executive Order No. 63-A amending section 16 of EO No. 63 dated September 29, clarifying the application and implementation of the rule on religious gatherings while Bacolod City is under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) from October 1 to 31.
This is in accordance with the pronouncement of the National Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (NIATF-MEID).
Among the provisions of EO NO. 63 issued by Leonardia on September 29 placing Bacolod City under GCQ, was in its second paragraph of Section 16 which limited attendance at religious gatherings up to a maximum of 10 persons only, based on Section 4 (12) of the Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines.
To resolve the conflicting provisions in IATF issuances, Leonardia submitted an urgent inquiry dated October 2 to the NIATF-MEID addressed to its chairman Secretary Francisco Duque lll.
The NIATF responded to the urgent inquiry of the mayor on October 5 stating that – the controlling provision on mass gatherings or religious gatherings is provided under NIATF Resolution No. 51, dated July 2 which states that for religious gatherings shall be allowed up to 10 percent of the searing capacity or up to 10 persons whichever is higher – provided that this will be limited to the conduct of religious worship/or service.
It provided further stated that religious denominations should strictly observe public health standards, social distancing measures, obligatory wearing of face masks and the immediate availability of hand hygiene necessities.*