Roman Catholic Bishop Broderick Pabillo of Archdiocese of Manila called on the local government of Manila City to heed their appeal to adjust the curfew hours in time for the traditional “Simbang Gabi” celebration this December.

“We are waiting for the local government units (LGUs), especially about the curfew. We are asking that they adjust the end of the curfew to 3:30 AM during those days of Simbang Gabi and no curfew on December 24 evening,” Pabillo said over church-run Radio Veritas.

A nine-day novena of Masses usually held at 4:00 AM before Christmas Day, the traditional Misa de Gallo or Simbang Gabi kicks off the Christmas season in the Philippines.

In urban areas such as Metro Manila, churchgoers also anticipate Mass on the eve of December 15.

With the ongoing community quarantine, mass schedules will coincide with Manila’s curfew hours from 10:00 PM to 5:00 AM.

Earlier, Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso called on the Catholic Church to develop a plan on how to observe the annual “Simbang Gabi” without violating the protocols prescribed by the government and risking transmission of COVID-19.

In a virtual press briefing on Friday, DILG Usec. Epimaco Densing III said that it is the right time to discuss their concern months before its celebration to enable the government to map out possible plans in case their request is heeded.

Densing stressed that the enforcement of safety protocols remains the government’s priority if more people will be allowed to enter the church to celebrate the tradition.

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