All cemeteries in Cebu City are closed from Oct. 30 to Nov. 3 to prevent the public from gathering during All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days or “Undas” that may led to the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Mayor Edgardo Labella signed Executive Order 092 recently, temporarily closing the city’s private and public cemeteries, memorial parks, and columbaries.
In a virtual presser, Labella said he issued the EO in line with the measures against COVID-19 and recognizing the Omnibus Guidelines on Community Quarantine issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) that prohibits mass gatherings.
“This is to prevent overcrowding and the spread of the virus inside cemeteries during the observance of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.”
“This is to prevent overcrowding and the spread of the virus inside cemeteries during the observance of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day,” the mayor said.
The Cebu City government “continues to put the people’s health as its top priority”, he said.
While the government understands that Filipinos honor their departed loved ones by visiting their tombs and offering prayers, Labella said he issued the directive early to give people time to schedule their visits through the days leading to the closure.
Labella urged the public to instead visit their departed days before Oct. 30 or after Nov. 3.
“This is for the safety of the public because millions flock the cemeteries.”
“This is for the safety of the public because millions flock the cemeteries on kalag-kalag (Undas). We can’t risk the spread of COVID-19 in our city,” he said.
The EO, however, exempts interment or cremation services which are allowed to be done by private or public cemeteries, memorial parks, and columbaries even during the coming holidays.
The city currently has at least 23 cemeteries where millions flock every year.
Labella said the public may pray for the souls of their late loved ones from home as certain traditions such as Undas would also have to adapt to temporary changes because of the pandemic.