Mayor Evelio Leonardia has ordered the temporary closure of public and private cemeteries, memorial parks, columbaria and the like from October 30 to November 2, to enhance public health and safety protocols during the “Undas Season” in Bacolod City.
Filipino culture and traditions are imbibed with religious significance such as celebrating All Saints and Souls days or “Undas” by visiting the graves of departed loved ones, the mayor said in Executive Order No 50, Series of 2021 released Sunday, October 17.
This will lead to crowding of people that will violate the current national and local public policy on the strict prohibition against mass gatherings that can cause the unwarranted spread of COVID-19, the mayor added.
He said the closure of the cemeteries is necessary for the promotion of health, protection and safety of the community, and the preservation of life.
In consideration of the familial, cultural, and religious need of Filipinos to pay their respects to their departed loved ones during the 2021 observance of Undas, visitor occupancy in all public and private cemeteries, memorial parks, columbaria and the like in Bacolod Citys will be increased to a maximum of 30 percent of the venue capacity at any given time from October 15 until November 15, except for October 30 until November 2 when they will be closed, he said.
However, during the days of temporary closure from October 30 to November 2, burial services will still be allowed with the stringent observance of wearing of face masks and face shields, and physical distancing, he said.
The 30 percent maximum occupancy restriction, however, will not apply during such interment services from October 30 to November 2, only the immediate family members of the deceased will be allowed to attend, he added.
After the “Undas Season” ends on November 15, restrictions of the Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine governing mass gatherings will again, be implemented corresponding to the community quarantine category then in operation, Leonardia said.
Vigilance of operators/owners of public and private cemeteries, memorial parks, columbaria and the like are required to comply with the executive order, the mayor said.
They are required to implement strict measures in limiting the influx and crowding of people coupled with the strict compliance of health protocols.
They should also not allow visitors to stay overnight in their memorial parks/facilities.
They, however, should allow priests and ministers to bless graves from October 30 to November 2.
Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson had earlier also ordered the temporary closure of all public and private memorial parks, cemeteries and columbaria in Negros Occidental from October 30 to November 2.*