Manila Bulletin

Simbang Gabi this year still possible – Palace

- By ARGYLL CYRUS B. GEDUCOS

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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