Churches in Manila now allowed use of up to 30 per cent of capacity

Published October 19, 2020, 1:56 PM

by Leslie Ann Aquino

Churches in the city of Manila are now ready to accommodate more churchgoers.

In this photo taken on September 2, 2020, a seminarian (R) wearing a face shield gives communion to Catholics during a mass inside a church in Manila.

Archdiocese of Manila apostolic administrator Bishop Broderick Pabillo said more people can now attend religious services following Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso signing of an order increasing the number of people religious places can accommodate from 10 percent to 30 percent of the venue’s total capacity.

“We are inviting everyone, you can already go inside the churches to worship,” he told Teleradyo Monday.

“Many have been attending masses outside the churches. They can now go inside,” added Pabillo.

Domagoso on Monday signed an Executive Order authorized the increase of seating capacity of religious gatherings “to promote not only the social and economic well-being“ of his constituents but also their “spiritual well-being.”

Under the executive order, only citizens aged 18 years old to 65 years old are allowed to attend religious gatherings. Minors are still not allowed to attend these gatherings.

The Mayor also stressed that “religious leaders shall ensure that attendees of the religious gathering shall, at all times, strictly observe minimum public health standards and protocols set by the government.”

Meanwhile, Pabillo also revealed that they will be increasing the number of masses for “Simbang Gabi” (dawn mass) this December to accommodate more people.

“We were informed earlier that the curfew for November will be from 12 midnight to 4 a.m. and it will be 12 midnight to 3 a.m. in December in order to have more time for Simbang Gabi,” he said.

“We will increase the number of masses for physical distancing and also so that more people can attend mass,” added Pabillo.

He said some churches even hold masses in gyms near schools for an alternate mass.

Domagoso met with Pabillo on October 16, to discuss the Catholic Church’s concerns for the conduct of the traditional ‘Simbang Gabi.’