MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday urged the nation to “pray for each other” amid the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic, especially those who have departed.
“As we follow the example of the saints and pray for our loved ones who have passed on, let us also pray for each other, especially during this pandemic,” he said in his All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day message.
He specifically honored more than 43,100 who have died of complications related to Covid-19.
“We pray for those who have died because of Covid-19 and we also pray for those who have sacrificed life and limb to save more lives and keep us safe,” he added.
Duterte said the centuries-old tradition of honoring and remembering those departed is “a strong pillar of our faith and identity as people.”
“This occasion offers us a time to reflect and be grateful for the gift of life and the promise of eternity,” he said.
He also expressed “full trust” that the country will brave trying times and emerge as a stronger nation with the grace of Almighty.
“May we all have a blessed and meaningful observance,” he added.
Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar, for his part, enjoined the public to pay tribute to their dearly departed in the comfort of their homes, especially with Covid-19 restrictions in place.
“May these observances inspire us to further strengthen our faith in the Lord as well as to uphold our morals and principles as we further unite as one nation in healing and recovering from the pandemic,” he said.
He also reminded the public to keep adhering to minimum health protocols while paying tribute to their departed loved ones.
“We ask everyone to continue adhering to minimum health protocols as well as to get vaccinated. We wish everyone a peaceful, meaningful, and safe observance,” he added.
From Oct. 29 to Nov. 2, cemeteries, memorial parks, and columbaria in the entire country will be closed to prevent the further spread of Covid-19.
The public may visit their departed loved ones after Nov. 2. Visitors must be limited to 10 persons per group, and the venue must only allow 30 percent capacity.
This is the second time the government ordered the closure of all cemeteries, memorial parks, and columbaria from Oct. 29 to Nov. 2 to prevent huge crowds of people particularly during All Saint’s (Nov. 1) and All Souls’ Day (Nov. 2) amid the pandemic.
Rules on the conduct of burials for non-Covid-19 deaths and Covid-19 remains shall continue to apply during the five-day period.
This year, All Saints’ Day remains a special non-working day while All Souls’ Day is a “special working day” as declared by Malacañang under Proclamation 1107. (PNA)