Malacañang advised “Simbang Gabi” attendees to observe health protocols.
MALACAÑANG — On Wednesday, the Palace advised those attending the 9-day “Simbang Gabi” (Misa de Aguinaldo) to strictly adhere to minimum public health standards.
The traditional nine-day Aguinaldo masses leading up to Christmas will start on December 16.
During the Presidential press briefing, acting Presidential Spokesperson Karlo Nograles advised the public to observe minimum public health standards such as social distancing and washing of hands.
Nograles also encouraged unvaccinated individuals to just attend the masses via online live streaming.
“Bukas, December 16, ay simula na ang Simbang Gabi. Ituloy po natin i-observe ang minimum public health standards. Mag mask po, hugas, iwas pa rin po tayo, lalo na nandyan pa rin yung banta ng Omicron variant,” Nograles said. “Sa hindi pa bakunado, mas mainam po na mag-attend na lang po ng online o virtual Simbang Gabi. Mas mainam po, magpabakuna na tayo.”
According to the Department of Health (DOH), the country has detected the Omicron variant from two international travelers — a returning overseas Filipino (ROF) who arrived from Japan last December 1 and a Nigerian national who arrived from Nigeria last November 30.
With this, the Department of Health urged the public to adhere to the minimum public standards. The DOH also said that the public should avoid holding mass gatherings in order to curb the transmission of COVID-19 this holiday season.
CBCP Public Affairs Committee Executive Secretary Father Jerome Secillano said in an interview on Super Radyo dzBB that churches were ready for the influx of attendees of the nine-day Aguinaldo masses amidst the pandemic and the threat of the Omicron variant.
Secillano, however, said that the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines will defer to the decision of the IATF should they say that senior citizens and children weren’t allowed during those celebrations.