All public and private cemeteries in the city of Manila will be temporarily closed from October 31 to November 3, during the observance of All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day.
Manila Mayor Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domagoso announced on Tuesday that he has signed Executive Order No. 38 which orders the temporary closure of cemeteries.
The order states that this is a part of efforts to sustain the city government’s initiatives in the fight against the coronavirus amid the general community quarantine in the city.
“In order to sustain the City’s efforts in containing the spread of Covid-19 there is a compelling need to avoid the influx of people in memorial parks, cemeteries and columbaries immediately before, during, and immediately after All Saints Day and All Souls Day” it read.
Domagoso said Manila North Cemetery, with about 15,837 graves, receives around 1.5 million visitors each year, while the Manila South Cemetery, with 39,228 graves, receives about 800,000 visitors during Undas.
Under the order, only “internment and cremation services for non-Covid-19 cases shall be allowed subject to the strict observance of minimum public health standards and social distancing.”
Domagoso asked for public understanding as he said the country is still in the middle of a pandemic.
Domagoso said he knows that many will be affected the order as the yearly celebration of “Undas” has become a family tradition observed by Filipinos.
“I am announcing this to give you enough time of about two months to visit the grave of your departed loved ones in different private and public cemeteries in the city,” Domagoso said in Filipino.
He said in case of public health protocols prescribed by the national government change before Undas, he would rescind his order.
“Tayo po ay nasa GCQ. Ibig sabihin, may mga panahon, mga araw, oras na hindi natin kailangan magsiksikan, magpahirapan sa pila, na mabisita ang mga mahal sa buhay sa kani-kanilang mga pribadong sementeryo o kolumbaryo, o sa mga pampublikong sementeryo (we are still under GCQ. This means that there is time to go and visit your departed loved ones and not squeeze in or fall in line in the middle of a crowd to be able to visit them in private and public cemeteries or in the columbaries),” Domagoso said.
He added that this is for everyone’s safety.
Domagoso directed the Manila Police District, the local government’s cemeteries, the Manila Health Department, the Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office and the Department of Public Services to ensure its proper implementation. (PNA)