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MAASIN CITY, Feb. 22 (PIA) -- The provincial inter-agency task force on emerging infectious diseases (PIATF-EID) has begun brainstorming details on how to go about with the 500th First Mass celebration next month without compromising the health and safety of those attending.

In a meeting with the cluster heads Friday, Feb. 19, at the governor’s boardroom, it was agreed that the minimum health protocols will still be observed, like the wearing of facemasks and face shields, installation of wash facilities, and social distancing.

During the meeting, the Diocese of Maasin was represented by two priests, Fr. Johnrey Sibi and Fr. Mark Vincent Salang.

For the side of the Church, names of visiting pilgrims from different parishes will be submitted in advance, on March 3 at the earliest, the two priests alternately vowed.

Parishioners belonging to Leyte province that are still part of the Diocese will be securing health declaration from their point of origin, and letter of acceptance signed by Gov. Damian Mercado through Danilo Atienza, provincial disaster risk reduction management officer (PDRRMO).

Government personnel who are going there, on the other hand, will be required to secure a travel order from their respective offices in addition to the health certificate.

The new executive order which will be coming out in March will have a section devoted to the conduct of the March 31, 2021 celebration in the island town of Limasawa, said Geraldine Maquelabit, DILG provincial director.

Last month, during the plenary session of the PIATF, Limasawa Mayor Petracorta sought guidelines for the quincentennial event, especially in the light of the lingering covid-19 threat.

Petracorta had said only 500 guests will be permitted to be physically present during the March 31 celebration, in which 250 individuals will come from the church, and the other 250 will be from the government, and thus far the number has not changed. (nbq/mmp/PIA8-Southern Leyte)