Manila Mayor Isko Moreno shows to media his duly signed Executive Order.
MANILA — All public and private memorial parks, cemeteries and columbaries in the City of Manila will be ordered to temporarily close from October 31 to November 3, Mayor Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domagoso announced on Tuesday, September 8.
In a Facebook Live broadcast, Domagoso announced he has signed Executive Order No. 38 ordering the temporary closure of the facilities, subject to General Community Quarantine (GCQ) protocols during the period of Undas.
Under Domagoso’s executive order, only “interment and cremation services for non-COVID-19 cases shall be allowed subject to the strict observance of minimum public health standards and social distancing.”
The Mayor said Manila North Cemetery, which has 105,837 graves, is estimated to receive about 1.5 million visitors, while Manila South Cemetery, which has 39,228 graves, is estimated to receive about 800,000 visitors for the period of Undas.
Domagoso asked for the public’s understanding as the country still faces a pandemic caused by the COVID-19 global outbreak. As of writing, the nation’s capital remains under GCQ.
“Kaya ko po ito ginagawa ngayon, para mabigyan kayo ng sapat na panahon ng humigit kumulang dalawang buwan na mabisita ang inyong mga mahal sa buhay na nahimilay sa mga pribado at pampublikong sementeryo,” Domagoso said.
“Patawarin niyo po ako kung sakaling masasaktan ko ang inyong damdamin na hindi makita ang inyong mga mahal sa buhay sa partikular na panahon na iyon. Inagapan namin na makabisita po kayo sa panahon ngayon,” the Mayor said.
Should public health protocols prescribed by the national government change before Undas, Domagoso said he would rescind his executive order.
However, as the city remains under GCQ, the Mayor said all public and private cemeteries will be temporarily closed for Undas.
“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,” Domagoso said.
“Hinihingi ko po ang inyong pang-unawa. Ito na rin ay para sa inyong kaligtasan,” he stressed.
The Mayor has 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 the proper implementation.
Kiara Lauren Ibanez / BENJAMIN CUARESMA