PHILIPPINE National Police chief, General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar on Saturday ordered all his field commanders to ensure strict compliance by church-goers and religious event participants to the minimum public health safety protocols newly-imposed by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).
The top cop issued the directive as the IATF approved an increased capacity of 30 percent for religious gatherings in areas under general community quarantine, including the NCR Plus.
Prior to the new approved capacity, the IATF had put a 10 percent capacity rate limit on churches and other religious events to prevent further transmission of the killer virus.
According to Eleazar, local police units should start coordinating with religious leaders in their respective areas of responsibility to ensure that the rules on mass gatherings are strictly observed.
He particularly cited churches in Metro Manila such as Quiapo and those in Intramuros, Manila as well as in Baclaran in Parañaque City which are known for being visited by hundreds of devotees before.
“Gaya ng bilin ko sa ating mga commanders, huwag na nating hintayin na hingan pa tayo ng tulong o may mangyaring paglabag bago tayo umaksyon. Kaya ngayon pa lang, inaasahan ko na ang ating mga chiefs of police na makipag-ugnayan sa mga religious leaders sa kanilang lugar upang pagtulungan na ang matiyak na ang alituntunin ng IATF ay masusunod,” Eleazar said.
“Ngayong niluwagan na uli ang alituntunin sa religious gatherings, ang pakiusap lang namin ay sana ay masunod ang mga alituntunin sa minimum public health safety at kami naman ay naniniwala na kaya itong gawin ng ating mga kababayan with the guidance of our religious leaders,” he added.
The PNP chief also appealed to the public to continue observing the minimum public health safety including the mandatory wearing of face masks and face shields and social distancing in public as part of government measures to reduce more COVID-19 transmissions and deaths.