MANILA Mayor Isko Moreno has banned the holding of street parties and games, stage shows, parades and similar activities in Tondo and Pandacan during the Feast of Sto. Niño on January 16 and 17.
In signing Executive Order No.2, Moreno stressed the for stringent guidelines and regulations to avoid the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
“Such activities can be surely an easy medium of COVID 19 spread and transmission, thereby endangering the health, well-being and safety of the general public,” Moreno said.
Apart from the ban on said activities, Moreno reminded residents about the existing curfew hours, as the liquor ban within the Pandacan and Tondo areas.
“Barangay officials and members of the Manila Police District are likewise directed to ensure that rules and regulations under the Executive Order will be followed,” Moreno said.
Last week, devotees defied fears of catching COVID-19 and trooped to Quiapo Church to celebrate the annual feast of the Black Nazarene despite reminders from local and health officials to stay home or hear Mass in other churches to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The Archdiocesan Shrine of Santo Niño backed the restrictions ordered by Moreno during celebration of the Feast of Sto. Niño for the coming weekend.
In a statement, the Tondo Church said they fully understand the reasons behind the decision to limit the festivities owing to the presence of the pandemic.
“We are in the time of pandemic. This is why there will be big changes in our celebration and tradition of the Feast from the way we are used to,” said Tondo Church.
“We are concerned with the welfare of everyone. We are one with the government in defeating and preventing the further spread of COVID-19,” it furthered.
The church said the restrictions imposed underwent extensive consultations with all stakeholders.
“The agreed upon activities and reminders are part of the consensual decision,” said Tondo Church.
Despite this, it urged the Sto. Niño devotees to continue participating in the novena and fiesta masses subject to strict safety protocols.
Similarly, the public is encouraged to attend the masses virtually, via its Facebook page. – With Gerard Naval