It’s final: Cebu City closes cemeteries on Oct. 29 to Nov. 2

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio - CDN Digital Multi-Media Reporter | October 26,2021 - 06:27 PM
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People visit the Calamba Cemetery in Cebu City in this 2019 file photo of All Souls’ Day.

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Cebu City government has finally conceded to the Interagency Task Force’s (IATF) decision to close the cemeteries from October 29 to November 2, 2021.

Acting Mayor Michael Rama has announced that due to the order released by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) today reiterating the closure of the cemeteries, he has treated this as a denial of the city’s request for exemption on the said closure order.

He has also talked with Secretary Karlo Nograles and he has been informed verbally of the insistence of the IATF to close the cemeteries.

In an advisory, the DILG said that there remains a need to avoid mass gatherings and ensure the continued enforcement of COVID-19 protocols and minimum public health standards in order to avoid a future rise in active cases.

“All LGUs are enjoined to adopt and implement ordinances, executive orders, or resolutions restricting access to cemeteries, memorial parks, columbaria for a period of five days, from October 29 to November 2, 2021.”

“While cemeteries, memorial parks, and columbaria may be open on other dates, visitors shall be limited to ten persons per group. The maximum venue capacity of 30 percent (or 50 percent provided by or allowed through an LGU declaration) shall likewise be observed,” said DILG.

The directive also means that appeals from local government units (LGUs) for the opening of cemeteries during the observance of All Saints Day and All Souls Day on November 1 and 2, respectively, are denied.

“Definitely we are not hard-headed. We are also mindful. They may have their reason on their level, but we also have our reasons acted upon. Nahuman naman atong gusto nya wala man gihatag, so wala tay mahimo,” said Rama.

Rama said he respects the decision of the IATF and reiterates the city has done all it can to lobby for the opening of the cemeteries even for vaccinated individuals only.

“Cemeteries will close starting October 29 to November 2 and it will resume opening on November 3 to November 5. That is now the directive, being the acting mayor, and therefore all stakeholders are ordered to follow that guideline,” said the mayor.

Rama said that the IATF has its reasons to deny the request of the city government but he hopes the IATF would allow the local government units (LGUs) more autonomy in the future.

To prove that Cebu City deserves autonomy, Rama said the city will intensify the vaccination program so that when the city reached the desired herd immunity, the IATF will have no more reason to deny requests such as the exemption for the cemetery closures.

Rama mulls that for future events such as the Misa de Gallo and the Sinulog or Fiesta Señor celebrations, the city will submit its proposals ahead to the IATF so that they may have a longer time to peruse it.

Yet for the mayor, the city will continue to take initiative in managing the pandemic through innovative means so that life can resume amid COVID-19.     /rcg


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TAGS: All saints day, All souls day, Cebu City, Cebu City cemeteries, cemeteries, cemetery closure, columbaria, COVID-19, IATF, IATF decision, Kalag-Kalag 2021, memorial parks

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