MASS gatherings, including religious and work-related meetings, are still prohibited under general community quarantine (GCQ), Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque clarified on Friday, May 1.
Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases listened to the complaints and decided to amend a previous GCQ guideline allowing religious gatherings provided social distancing is observed.
"Lahat po ng mass gatherings ay hindi pa po pupuwede ‘no -- sa GCQ. Bagama’t in-approve po ng IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases) 'yung mass gathering para sa religious, for as long as there is a two-meter social distancing ay talaga naman pong pinutakte kami ng reklamo," Roque said in an interview with DZRB.
"Pinadala ang mensahe ng mga governors sa akin, na galit na galit sila. Sabi ko, huwag kayo sa akin magalit na personal dahil hindi ko po desisyon na personal iyan, at kinunsidera naman po 'yan," Roque said.
Several local chief executives have already requested for an extension of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
The League of Mayors of the Philippines in Albay raised concern over the IATF's decision to put Albay province under GCQ.
According to Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara, residents of Albay have also appealed for an extended ECQ in the area.
"Albay residents have expressed their reluctance placing Albay under GCQ status. Their reactions include: the province is not yet ready; scary; dangerous, flatten the curve, doubts, and cases still increasing," Bichara said.
The mayors of Isabela have also raised the same concern, saying that the province is not yet ready to shift to GCQ.
Isabela Governor Rodolfo Albano III expressed the need for a modified ECQ in the area.
"ECQ pa rin, with a little modification, 'yung mga modifications na iyan itutuloy natin iyong mga construction, pag-pasok ng nga tao sa opisina, ine encourage ko skeletal force pa rin," he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the IATF recommendation to extend ECQ until May 15 only in the following areas: National Capital Region (Metro Manila), Central Luzon except Aurora, Calabarzon, Pangasinan, Benguet including Baguio City, Iloilo province including Iloilo City, Cebu province including Cebu City, Davao City and Bacolod City. (SunStar Philippines)