THE City Government of San Fernando will still regulate its crowd-drawing festivals and activities like "Maleldo" or the observance of Holy Week this coming April.
This is despite the Department of the Interior and Local Government's (DILG) statement on Monday, February 17, that public events may be held as long as organizers prepare precautionary measures against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Mayor Edwin Santiago told SunStar Pampanga Thursday, February 20, that the City Government will not take chances and risk the health and lives of Fernandinos and tourists alike.
"We fully understand the DILG, as well as the Department of Health (DOH) and Department of Tourism on this statement but we in San Fernando would not want to 'invite' any form of disease that may pose risks to the health and lives of Fernandinos as well as tourists who come to the city," he said.
Santiago stressed that such crowd-drawers will not be cancelled or postponed but will be highly regulated by the City Government.
"The activities like 'Maleldo' and others lined up for March and April until May during the Pyestang Fernandino will go on as scheduled but we will have to implement control measures and regulations to safeguard crowds on top of what the DOH advised local government units like monitoring all participants to public events with infrared thermometers, providing all participants with hand sanitizers or 70-percent isopropyl alcohol, asking everyone to use surgical masks and providing waste baskets for the proper disposal of all types of wastes," he said.
Santiago added that activities like "Maleldo" where the annual staging of the "Via Crucis" or the passion of the Christ is held in three sites, including the populated village of San Pedro Cutud, will be "localized."
"We are not inclined to promote big events at this point in time to help government curb the spread of any disease like Covid-19. Rather, we are looking at localizing activities like 'Maleldo' so the City Government can really regulate them," he added.
Already, the City Government has convened its Inter-Agency Task Force last February 13 to establish preparedness and ensure efficient government response to assess, monitor, contain, control, and prevent the spread of emerging infectious disease, including Covid-19.
Meanwhile, Santiago shared that so far, the Covid-19 threat has minimal impact on the city's economy and tourism.
"So far, the Covid-19 threat has minimal impact on the city's economy and tourism, unlike other places where places of convergence like hotels have been affected. Still, we will continue to take steps and precautions to protect the health and welfare of Fernandinos," he said. (JTD)