Manila Bulletin

Sim­bang Gabi this year still pos­si­ble – Palace

- By AR­GYLL CYRUS B. GEDUCOS Christianity · Religion · Philippines · Harry Roque · Archdiocese of Manila · Manila · Emerging Infectious Diseases · Namibia · Metro Manila · Saudi Arabia · Nigeria · DZBB

De­spite the threat of COVID19, Mala­cañang said that the tra­di­tional "Sim­bang Gabi" or dawn masses in De­cem­ber may still push through if the rate of in­fec­tion of the res­pi­ra­tory dis­ease will con­tinue to go down.

Pres­i­den­tial spokesman Harry Roque made the state­ment af­ter Arch­dio­cese of Manila apos­tolic ad­min­is­tra­tor Bishop Brod­er­ick Pa­billo asked the lo­cal gov­ern­ment to ad­just the cur­few hours dur­ing the masses lead­ing to Christ­mas Day.

Of­fi­cials of the Catholic Church like­wise ap­pealed to the In­ter­A­gency Task Force (IATF) for the Man­age­ment of Emerg­ing In­fec­tious Dis­eases to in­crease ca­pac­ity for re­li­gious ac­tiv­i­ties dur­ing the Sim­bang Gabi from 10 per­cent to 30 per­cent.

In an in­ter­view with Su­per Radyo

DZBB, Roque said that the IATF will con­tinue look­ing into the mat­ter but said that the tra­di­tional nine-day novena of masses may push through if the rate of in­fec­tion will dwin­dle.

“Tit­ig­nan na­man po natin 'yan. Ka­pag na­man po ta­la­gang ang at­tack rate at health ca­pac­ity ay nakita na nag-i-im­prove, puwede na­mang magMGCQ (We'll see. If the at­tack rate and health ca­pac­ity im­prove, we can shift to the Mod­i­fied Gen­eral Com­mu­nity Quar­an­tine),” he said Satur­day.

Metro Manila re­mains un­der the GCQ un­til the end of the month and Manila is still im­ple­ment­ing a cur­few from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. The Sim­bang Gabi masses usu­ally start at 4 a.m.

Ac­cord­ing to Roque, the fate of Metro Manila's quar­an­tine clas­si­fi­ca­tion de­pends on the peo­ple's ad­her­ence to min­i­mum health stan­dards, par­tic­u­larly the gov­ern­ment's cam­paign slo­gan against COVID-19

“Mask, Hu­gas, Iwas.” The cam­paign re­minds the pub­lic to wear a mask, wash hands reg­u­larly, and prac­tice phys­i­cal dis­tanc­ing.

“Nakasalala­y po sa at­ing pa­susunod sa 'Mask, Hu­gas, Iwas' kung pup­wede ta­laga tay­ong magka­roon ng mas maram­ing tao na pupunta ng sim­ba­han para sa Sim­bang Gabi (It de­pends on our ad­her­ence to the 'Mask, Hu­gas, Iwas' cam­paign if we can al­low more peo­ple to come to church for the Sim­bang Gabi),” he said.

Roque said that things are look­ing good for Metro Manila.

“Ang at­ing R0 rate ay nasa less than one per­cent na. Dati po nakataas niyan (Our R0 or rate of in­fec­tion is now less than one per­cent. It used to be very high),” he said.

“Baka na­man po kaya nat­ing makamit 'yan. Tin­gin ko na­man po nakakat­u­long yung pat­u­loy na pag­sunod sa 'Mask, Hu­gas, Iwas' (I think we can make it hap­pen. I think the con­tin­ued ob­ser­va­tion of 'Mask, Hu­gas, Iwas' helps,” he added.

The Sim­bang Gabi Masses cul­mi­nate with the “Misa de Gallo” on Christ­mas Eve.

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