Increased capacity in Metro Manila churches sought to aid distraught devotees

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 19) — Local chief executives in Metro Manila are appealing to the COVID-19 task force to increase the number of devotees allowed in churches to give spiritual relief to those undergoing intrapersonal struggles.

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority General Manager Jojo Garcia on Monday said all 17 Metro Manila mayors voted to recommend raising the capacity in churches from 10% to 30%. He added that devotees are resorting to crowding outside the churches due to limitations.

"Ang naging reason po ng mga mayors natin, 'yung psychological and moral issues ng ating mga kababayan, kailangan na po ng tulong na face to face na makapagsimba po. 'Yan po ang naging dahilan nila na baka at least ay mapagbigyan po na 30% ang capacity," he said in a media briefing.

[Translation: The mayors said the devotees need face-to-face church visit because they are facing psychological and moral issues.]

Garcia and Inter-Agency Task Force Spokesperson Harry Roque both said the recommendation has yet to be discussed by the task force before it can be implemented.

However, Manila City issued an executive order increasing the number of people allowed inside churches. Manila Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso signed the order on Monday, authorizing the increase of seating capacity at churches, mosques, and chapels from 10% to 30%. Under the executive order, only citizens aged 18 years old to 65 years old are allowed to attend religious gatherings.