MABALACAT CITY – The city government here is now allowing the physical holding of all Lenten rites and Liturgical activities in observance of the Holy Week 2022.
This was affirmed by Mayor Crisostomo Garbo through his Information Officer Jay Pelayo IV during an exclusive interview with GNN TV44’s Oras Na on April 11, 2022.
Mayor Garbo said that the primary consideration of the MCG pronouncement was the easing COVID-19 situation in the city as manifested by more than a week of zero new active cases in the city.
Pampanga has been downgraded to Alert Level 1, the least restrictive in the five-tiered COVID-19 restriction system of the Philippine government.
“Tayo po ay naglabas opisyal na pahayag kung saan pinahihintulutan natin ang pagdaraos ng iba’t-ibang aktibidad na naka-angkla sa ating selebrasyon ng Mahal na Araw. Batid natin na ito ay bahagi na ng ating pananampalataya at kultura bilang mga Mabalaqueño at Pilipino,” said Mayor Garbo.
Pampanga, particularly Mabalacat City, has been known for a myriad of traditional Holy Week activities such as self-flagellation, ‘Pabasa’ in makeshift shrines, the Re-enactment of the way of the Cross or the ‘Via Crucis’, and Church visits or the ‘Visita Iglesia’.
Before the pandemic restrictions were escalated in 2020, thousands of religious pilgrims troop to Mabalacat City to witness these Lenten rites, which are part and parcel of the intangible heritage of the city.
Furthermore, the city mayor cited the successful holding of Fiestang Caragan last February as a fundamental factor in the decision of the city government to resume the face-to-face conduct of the Lenten activities, citing zero surges of infections following the said weeklong merriment.
It can be remembered that Mabalacat City’s Fiestang Caragan 2022 is the first festival in the whole country to be staged in a face-to-face setup in the middle of a pandemic.
“Marami rin sa ating mga kababayan ang nais na ring magdaos ng kani-kanilang mga nakagisnang mga ritwal at aktibidad. Kung nagawa nating maisagawa ang iba pa nating live events ng face-to-face nang walang anumang naging aberya, kayang-kaya rin natin maisagawa ito sa ating mga Holy Week activities,” the city mayor added citing the strong clamor of Mabalaqueños.
Meanwhile, Garbo cautioned every Mabalaqueño about the still looming threats of COVID-19 by enforcing adherence to government-mandated minimum public health protocols, as fervently stated by the IAFT-EID.
The city mayor has also ordered the activation of all local government instrumentalities such as the Mabalacat City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MCDRRMO), and Traffic Enforcement Group (MCTEG), the local police, all Sangguniang Barangays, and other law enforcement agencies to ensure proper coordination, safe and orderly staging of all Lenten activities across the city from April 10 (Palm Sunday) to April 17 (Easter Sunday).