Metro mayors drafting guidelines for early cemetery-goers ahead of Undas closure

Angela Coloma, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 19 2020 12:58 PM

Friends Clark John, TJ Omictin and Julbert Billanes visit the San Juan City Cemetery on September 10, 2020. The public was urged to visit cemeteries before Undas as the government is set to shutter memorial parks and columbariums across the country on All Saints Day and All Souls Day to curb the spread of COVID-19. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Metro Manila mayors will establish guidelines as cemeteries expect early visitors after the government ordered the closure of all memorial parks and columbariums nationwide during Undas season as a precaution against COVID-19, an official said Saturday. 

Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez, the Metro Manila Council chairman, said security personnel and marshals would be deployed in cemeteries to augment police in implementing distancing rules as the virus threat remains.

Cemetery visitors are also advised to adhere to the 30-percent capacity imposed by the government. 

"Magkakaroon tayo ng marshal kasama ang ating PNP para ipatutupad ang physical distancing at hindi po magkaroon ng gatherings, doon po sa sementeryo prior sa pagko-close ng ating sementeryo," Olivarez said in a press briefing, Saturday. 

(We will have marshals, with our PNP to enforce physical distancing protocols and prevent gatherings inside cemeteries prior to their closure during Undas.) 

Malacañang on Friday announced that cemeteries and columbariums all over the country would be closed from October 29 to November 4 or Undas season this year, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. 

The annual tradition sees millions of Filipinos flocking to cemeteries to visit the graves of their departed loved ones. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has encouraged the public to go on cemetery visits before October 29. 

Cemeteries in densely populated Metro Manila draw millions of visitors every year during Undas. 

Metro Manila local governments have also agreed to allow flower vendors to operate near cemeteries prior to the closure, Olivarez said. 

"'Yung mga nagtitinda ng bulaklak ia-arrange po ng LGU, makakapagtinda sila doon po sa prior at after (Undas) para hindi sila mawalan ng hanapbuhay at gagawin na po orderly ang pagtitinda ng bulaklak," Olivarez said.

(LGUs will make an arrangement for flower vendors so they could sell before and after Undas. So they won't lose their livelihood. We will also make this orderly.)