Statement of the Department of the Interior and Local Government

March 26, 2021

Official Spokesperson

The Department welcomes the decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to allow the holding of religious services/masses of up to 10% of church capacity as requested by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines.

The decision of the IATF shows that the government fully respects the right to worship and recognizes its importance in providing spiritual support, reduce stress, and promoting good mental health in these trying times.

We thank the Archdiocese of Manila for entering with a dialogue with the Department of the Interior and Local Government with open arms and minds. The dialogue underscored the CBCP’s commitment to support government efforts to defeat the pandemic in light of the alarming rise of COVID cases in the NCR+ area.

In holding the religious services of up to 10% of capacity, the CBCP assured government of its strict compliance with all minimum health standards especially physical distancing so that no community transmission occurs in our churches. Given that only 10% of capacity will be allowed inside our churches, we urge the faithful to stay at home and attend masses virtually through various social media sites to prevent crowding and mass gatherings outside the churches.

We wish to emphasize that under the IATF Resolution, no gatherings and conduct of religious activities shall be allowed outside churches and/or venues. Live singing, if any, shall be strictly limited while recorded singing is encouraged.

The Philippine National Police and our barangays have been directed by the Department to facilitate the implementation of the IATF-approved protocols in the NCR+ bubble area in coordination with local parishes/religious denominations.

Again, we thank Archbishop Romulo Valles, CBCP President, for his prayers as we all continue to do our work in the service of our people in these difficult times.