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Isko seeks safe Simbang Gabi plans

Isko Moreno
Manila Mayor Isko Moreno calls on the authorities of the Catholic Church to formulate plans on how to celebrate the midnight masses while keeping the public safe from the coronavirus. Photo by JERRY S. TAN

MANILA Mayor Isko Moreno called on authorities of Catholic Churches to come up with a plan on how to observe the annual ‘Simbang Gabi’ or pre-dawn masses that lead up to the celebration of Christmas eve midnight of December 24, without violating the protocols prescribed by government and risking transmission of the coronavirus.

Moreno said that this early, plans should already be discussed, at the very least, if not already polished for enforcement beginning December 16, when the nine-day traditional masses begin.

According to the mayor, the city government of Manila is ready to sit down with them and coordinate action plans to ensure a well-thought out formula that would protect the Catholic faithful from getting infected by COVID-19 while observing the age-old tradition which is a very important religious activity.

“I hope that they (Church authorities) will already begin planning among themselves on how we are going to practice the tradition while keeping everyone safe from COVID-19. Kami naman ay handang makipag-ugnayan sa kanila,” he said.

Moreno added that while there is no perfect rule or formula, he believes that the leaders of the Church will be able to strike a plan that would be acceptable to everybody concerned while ensuring that the possibility of COVID-19 transmission through mass gatherings is totally eliminated.

Similarly, he said the plans for the observance of the Feast of the Black Nazarene also have to be discussed and planned out already.

“I am appealing sa mga lider ng Simbahan… we are trying to be ahead of things because there are some things that we cannot control pero pupuwede namang iwasan. These are two important occasions kaya ang paghikayat ko ay sana, magpatupad ang ating mga lider ng iba’t-ibang sector ng plano… mas masarap ‘yung kusa,” Moreno said.

‘Simbang Gabi’ is a series of nine dawn masses on the days leading up to Christmas Day. Beginning on December 16, the masses can start as early as 4 a.m and is celebrated by the predominantly Catholic nation as its most important religious event.

The Feast of the Black Nazarene is celebrated every January 9 where millions of devotees turn up to join the procession known as ‘Traslacion.’.

Meanwhile, the city of Manila received a “Good Financial Housekeeping recognition” from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) after ten years.

The recognition is a basis for the local government unit to get a Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG) from the DILG.

The recognition was also based on an evaluation of local governance in the aspect of Disaster Preparedness, Social Protection, Peace and Order, Business Friendliness and Competitiveness and Tourism, Culture and Arts.