By Benjie Cuaresma
MANILA — A WARNING to barangay officials and funeral parlor personnel in Quezon City, stiff sanctions will be meted out to those who will allow wakes to be held at the homes of the bereaved as city officials stressed that such activities could result in mass gatherings that is still being prohibited because of the possible spread of coronavirus infections.
In an official statement, QC Barangay Community Relations Department (BCRD) head Ricky Corpuz explained that the decision to disallow wakes in residences was in reaction to various reports that there are some barangays, despite the strict health safety protocol against mass gatherings, which permit funeral parlors to conduct wakes inside homes.
Quezon City mayor Maria Josefina Tanya ‘Joy’ Belmonte warned that barangay officials and funeral homes personnel will pay fines or face imprisonment if they violate Ordinance No. SP-2907, S-2000, which bans organizing wakes at home.
“What we are trying to avoid is crowded wakes where a potential surge can occur. While we understand that we should accord grieving families the right to pay their last respects, the virus is still there to wreak havoc and could ruin even our Christmas celebration. So if we can limit the wake to the immediate family and in a controlled environment, then we can avert the spread of the virus,” Belmonte pointed out.
Under the ordinance, wakes are allowed for two days at the funeral parlor, community mortuaries or chapels if the deceased is negative for the coronavirus disease. Also, only the immediate family members are allowed to attend the burial or cremation.
Quezon City-based funeral parlors that would violate the ordinance will be slapped with PhP5,000 worth of fines per violation and revocation of business permit.
The mayor also disclosed that the ordinance will penalize violators with an equivalent fine of PhP5,000 or imprisonment of not more than six months at the discretion of local courts.
The Quezon City government likewise reminded its constituents that wakes are only allowed at funeral parlors and not inside homes.
“We remind the family of the deceased that wakes are strictly allowed only in funeral parlors and not at home. It hasn’t changed since the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) days,” Corpuz said.
“There are a lot of funeral parlors saying that if they get barangay clearance, they will conduct the wakes at the family’s homes,” he concluded. (MTVN/AI)