Metro cemeteries closed from October 29 to November 2

Ralph Edwin Villanueva - The Philippine Star
Metro cemeteries closed from October 29 to November 2
In Resolution No. 21-22 dated Oct.10, the mayors pushed for the closure of public and private cemeteries from October 29 to November 2.
The STAR / Boy Santos

MANILA, Philippines — The 17 mayors of Metro Manila have approved a resolution restricting public access to cemeteries, memorial parks and columbaria in the coming All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.

In Resolution No. 21-22 dated Oct.10, the mayors pushed for the closure of public and private cemeteries from Oct. 29 to Nov. 2.

The mayors have also allowed shorter curfew hours from the original 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. period to midnight to 4 a.m., in Resolution 21-23.

“In order to avoid mass gatherings during Undas and thereby complement the efforts exerted by the Metro Manila mayors in controlling the spread of COVID-19 in the National Capital Region, it is encouraged that individuals visit the public and private cemeteries, memorial parks and columbaria on dates earlier than Oct. 29 or later than Nov. 2,” the resolution read. Only 30 percent of the cemetery’s capacity would be allowed at a given time.

By issuing Resolution 21-22, the mayors stressed that the avoidance of mass gatherings, as well as the enforcement of health protocols, would “avoid a future rise in active cases.”

Wakes, necrological services, funerals, interment, cremation and inurnment during the period would be based on existing government guidelines.

At a briefing yesterday, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Benhur Abalos said visitation days should be spread out to prevent the rush of people to cemeteries.

“Instead of going to the cemetery on Nov. 1, maybe people should come now,” Abalos said, citing the need to prevent super spreader events.

On shortening the curfew period, Metro Manila mayors said they have taken into consideration the “general” decrease in COVID-19 cases.

“The Metro Manila Council recognizes the imperative to gradually but cautiously open the economy in order to increase business activity, reduce unemployment and underemployment and promote economic growth while at the same time equally being mindful of the paramount interests of public health and public safety,” the resolution read.

“The curfew hours being presently implemented in the National Capital Region under Alert Level 4, from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m., has to be adjusted in light of the recent developments, particularly the steady decrease of active cases in the region,” it added.

In Legazpi City, Bishop Joel Baylon wants Catholic cemeteries closed from Oct. 30 to Nov. 3 amid the “still alarming” cases of COVID-19.

“Since the COVID-19 cases in our province are still alarming, I deem it prudent to implement the closure of all the Catholic cemeteries in the diocese from Oct. 30 until Nov. 3, except of course for burial,” Baylon said in a statement.

He said Catholic faithful who wish to visit their departed loved ones are encouraged to do so before Oct. 30 or after Nov. 3 to avoid inconvenience.

He also urged them not to visit in groups to avoid congestion, as he also called on priests not to celebrate masses and other pastoral service at cemeteries. –  Robertzon Ramirez

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