MANILA, Philippines — The government will review the resumption of religious and construction activities in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) following complaints by some local government officials, Malacañang said Thursday.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases is set to tackle the matter anew on Friday.
“So ngayon po dahil hindi naman tayo pwede magbingi-bingihan sa mga protestang ito, minabuti ko po na ibalik muli itong dalawang bagay na ito sa IATF dahil meron naman pong pagpupulong ang IATF bukas maski holiday po dahil May 1,” Roque said in an interview over TV Patrol.
(We cannot be tone-deaf on these protests so we decided to return these two concerns to the IATF because they have a meeting tomorrow even though it’s a holiday since it’s May 1.)
The local officials worried that allowing the resumption of religious activities might defeat the purpose of preventing the spread of the coronavirus, Roque said.
“Isa sa mga tumawag sa akin si [Isabela] Gov. Rodito Albano at ang sabi nga sa akin ay parang nabalewala na ‘yung pag-iingat sa sakit kung papayagan ‘yang mga religious gatherings, dahil talagang ang estado naman hindi pupwedeng pumasok sa simbahan at sa mosque para paghiwa-hiwalayin ang mga tao,” Roque said.
(Among those who called me was Gov. Rodito Albano who said that allowing religious gatherings will put to waste efforts to curb the spread of the virus since the state cannot enter churches and mosques to prevent the people from crowding.)
Roque then asked the public to refrain from holding religious activities in the meantime.
“So siguro po ipagpaliban muna natin hanggang magkaroon ng pagkakataon na magkaroon naman ng baliktaktakan dito sa IATF at humihingi po ako ng pasensya,” he said.
(Maybe let’s put off religious activities until the IATF discusses this matter again. I am asking for patience.)
Local government officials also expressed concern over the resumption of construction since physical distancing is also “impossible” to apply in this situation, according to Roque.
“Isa pa po ‘yan, nagkaroon din ng concerns ang mga LGUs na impossible din po ang social distancing lalo na kung malakihan ang proyekto. Bagamat ang desisyon nga na ipagpatuloy na itong mga essential construction na ito ay dahil kinakailangan buhayin ang ekonomiya eh napakadami din pong mga local na opisyales na nagreklamo,” he said.
(That’s also among the concerns of the LGUs, that it’s impossible to apply social distancing especially in big projects. While the decision to resume this essential construction is intended to revive the economy, many local officials griped over this decision.)
Roque earlier announced that religious activities and essential work gatherings will be allowed as well as construction alongside other activities not involved in leisure and entertainment in areas under GCQ.
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