The Bacolod Sangguniang Panlungsod has joined Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia in appealing to the National Inter-Agency Task Force to reconsider its guidelines that restrict religious congregations.
In a resolution, the SP requested the NIATF to allow religious gatherings such as masses and worship prayer services that will strictly observe health protocols.
It said that religious leaders and the faithful in Bacolod lament the policy of the NIATF which considers as non-essential the congregated worship of God, but discriminately equates the same with entertainment activities and sports.
“The fear and dread of COVID-19 has not only bled our national economy but seems to have terribly blurred our vision on the eternal and sovereign God who alone in His power, mercy and grace, can stop COVID-19,” the resolution said.
Religious gatherings and congregational worships may be effectively performed with the strict observance of health protocols which include, among others, proper wearing of face mask and social distancing, it said.
“It is in crisis moments like this that we are able to be drawn closer as individual, family and nation to the Almighty One who is our only absolute and ultimate refuge, safety and healing,” it added.
The SP resolution, authored by Councilor Renecito Novero, pointed out that until the NIATF decides on its request and while Bacolod is under General Community Quarantine (GCQ), the restrictions on religious gatherings will be observed.
Based on the May 15 guidelines issued by the NIATF, religious gatherings are allowed with attendance up to a maximum of 10 persons in areas under GCQ.
The SP resolution cited that NIATF rules are relaxed for areas under Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) were public gatherings like movie screenings, concerts, sporting events, other entertainment activities, community assemblies, religious gatherings, and non-essential work gatherings are allowed provided that participants should be limited to 50 percent of the venue or seating capacity.
A copy of the resolution was furnished the Office of President Rodrigo Duterte, the NIATF, the City Mayor of Bacolod, the Governor and Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Negros Occidental, and the Western Visayas Regional IATF.*
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