National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) spokesman Jun Alonto-Datu Ramos said Tuesday that NCMF Secretary Saidamen Pangarungan issued on February 14 a memorandum order, announcing changes in the scope of the national Islamic event pursuant to the recent advisory from the Department of Health (DOH).
The Manila Bulletin obtained an e-copy of Pangarungan’s memo, which prescribed for the transfer of the event venue from the Bahay ng Alumni of the University of the Philippines (UP) in Quezon City to a “private location”.
Interviewed over the phone, Datu Ramos said the new venue will likely be at a hotel located also in Quezon City, adding that the host security elements would enforce a limit on the entry of people “not invited” to the event.
Even friends and family members of NCMF officials were discouraged from attending the annual event, he stressed.
He said the DOH advisory-inspired order of Pangrungan would do away with past practices of allowing hundreds or thousands of people to witness regional male and female champions competing in the national Qur’an reading tilt.
The male and female champions in the March 3 contest will represent the Philippines in the annual World Qur’an tilt. In past decades, some male Filipino contestants had won the global competitions in a fashion that inspired huge spectators in subsequent national contests.
“Because of the DOH public advisory discouraging mass gatherings to avoid spread of NCoV, the NCMF decided to transfer the venue of the (national) competition proper from the U.P. Quezon City campus to an area not accessible the public,” Pangarungan’s memo stated.
The same directive mandated NCMF provincial and regional officials to refrain people in their respective areas from proceeding to Metro Manila for the purpose of witnessing the national contest.
Pangarungan appealed for public understanding in the unprecedented restriction to uninvited spectators in the March 3 event, hinting that the DOH advisory may seem unpopular but it would be for the good of everybody.
Source: Manila Bulletin