Former Sen. Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. has appealed for the easing of the restrictions on churches and other places of worship and allow vaccinated people inside to observe their faith even during the enhanced community quarantine period.
“Let them visit their places of worship as long as they follow the IATF-imposed minimum health protocol,” said Marcos in a statement.
The former senator was making the appeal following his conversations with leaders of various churches who lamented on the lack of government’s consultation with them before closing down their places of worship.
Marcos said the government should consider that Filipinos are devoted to their faith and it would contribute to their mental well-being and upliftment of their spirits when they can go inside the church to hear mass or pray.
“May sinasabi nga kami, pati simbahan siguro, pwedeng buksan din. Basta vaccinated na, payagan ng pumunta sa simbahan o mosque, para manalangin o sumamba. It would be a big help to our well-being, pati na sa mental health pag nakakasimba o nakakapunta sa simbahan,” the former lawmaker proposed.
“Tayo pa naman dito sa Pilipinas, very devoted tayo e. Gaya nga ng sinabi ko kanina, may epekto sa mental health ito. Nakakatulong ‘yung nananalangin ka kahit paano. ‘Yung nakakasimba ka, nakakapunta ka sa simbahan, kahit papaano nakakagaan ng puso ‘yan e. Ang karaniwang Pilipino e hinahanap natin ‘yan,” he added.
Marcos noted that most churches are spacious enough. Hence, it would be easy to ensure social distancing.
Due to the enhanced community quarantine last year, religious activities had to be held virtually to prevent mass gatherings. When the restrictions were later on eased, churches were allowed to fill up ten percent to 30 percent of their capacity. But they were closed again for masses and other group activities when the ECQ was imposed again.
When the government banned religious gatherings last March, Catholic bishops decried the lack of consultation over the government’s decision, especially during Holy Week. With the country celebrating its 500 years of conversion to Christianity, the restrictions added to the dismay of the Catholic faithful.
In a public statement, Bishop Broderick Pabillo himself urged the government regulatory bodies to consult the sectors concerned when making policies about them.
For his part, Caloocan Bishop Virgilio David lamented that while churches are “locked down,” fitness centers are allowed to operate at 70 percent capacity and 50 percent in establishments for personal care services, including spas.
He expressed hope that the government would at least allow a 20 to 30 percent capacity of churches following strict protocol.