Task force allows Independence Day rites in Luneta, but only 10 attendees

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 9) — The traditional Independence Day celebration will push through at the Luneta Park in Manila on June 12, but there will be limited guests due to the coronavirus crisis.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases, the policy-making body in the government's COVID-19 response, has approved the attendance of only 10 people during the ceremony.

Under the government's guidelines for areas under general community quarantine such as Metro Manila, only 10 people are allowed to gather to prevent further spread of COVID-19, which has infected more than 22,000 people nationwide.

"Binigyan po ng permiso ng IATF na magkaroon ng celebration sa Luneta (The IATF gave its permission for a celebration to be held in Luneta) but limited to 10 people only," Roque said in an online media briefing.

He said he'll check if President Rodrigo Duterte will attend the commemoration. The President has been in his hometown in Davao City since last week. Roque said he will again meet with members of the IATF there.

Last year, Vice President Leni Robredo led the flag raising and wreath laying ceremony at Rizal Park while Duterte visited government troops in Lanao del Sur.

Duterte previously skipped the Independence Day rites in Manila in 2017, which would have been his first since taking office on June 30, 2016. In 2018, Duterte was heckled during his Independence Day speech at the Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, Cavite.