Baguio limits religious services to 10% capacity

Baguio limits religious services to 10% capacity

BAGUIO CITY – The city government and the religious sector have agreed to reopen church services during the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) but with only 10 percent of the capacity of the facility and subject to health regulations, an official said on Friday.

Aileen Refuerzo, chief city information officer, said churches must first submit guidelines subject to inspection prior to the issuance of a permit allowing churches in all denominations to hold religious service.

Among the rules agreed upon by the city government and the religious sector include limiting of the attendees to 10 percent of the capacity of the church, mosque or prayer hall.

Senior citizens and teenage parishioners will be allowed to join Sunday services but Sunday school for children is still restricted. Services are only allowed from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The basic health protocol required by the Health Department must always be observed- like one meter-radius physical distancing, use of masks and availability of alcohol or liquid disinfectant.

Churches must also have a list of the attendees with their corresponding contact information to be made available for contact tracing.

Refuerzo said Mayor Benjamin Magalong allowed the church to resume religious services to give people hope amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

“Services will only commence after the approval of the guidelines and issuance of certificates of compliance by the city government,” Refuerzo said.

During the consultation held on June 3, church leaders led by Baguio Apostolic Vicar Rev. Victor Bendico of the Catholic Church, Rev. Pastor Robbie Casas of the Protestant churches and Rev. Pastor Voltaire Acosta who heads the Presidential Commission on Religious Affairs committed to comply with all the precautionary measures as their contribution to prevent the spread of the Covid-19.

Meanwhile, the Department of the Interior and Local Government in the Cordillera Administrative Region (DILG-CAR) asked the public to comply with the guidelines of the new normal.

DILG-CAR regional director Marlo Iringan also urged the public to remain vigilant and adapt to the new normal.

“Isang malaking hamon sa atin kung papaano natin sasanayin ang publiko na maging disiplinado. Ang gusto natin ay maging bahagi ang mamamayan sa solusyon at hindi magiging bahagi ng problema (It is a big challenge on how to discipline the public. We want the people to become part of the solution and not part of the problem),” Iringan said.  Liza Agoot /PNA –