IATF urged to rethink cemetery closure during Undas

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 22) — Some local governments are hoping the country's pandemic response task force will reconsider its order to close all cemeteries to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission during Undas, the League of Provinces said Friday.

"Ang ibang LGU ay humihiling naman po na pwede narin daw buksan kahit po Oct. 30 and 31," Marinduque Governor Presbitero Velasco, Jr. - the league's president - said in a Laging Handa briefing. But he did not name the local governments.

[Translation: A number of LGUs want to open cemeteries on Oct. 30 and 31, if possible.]

Like last year, visitors will not be allowed to enter burial grounds from Oct. 29 to Nov. 2, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año has said.

"Sa paggunita naman po ng Undas ngayong November 1, ang IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) ay naglabas na ng guidelines na ipasasara ang lahat ng sementeryo, memorial parks, libingan, kasama na ang columbaria mula Oct. 29 hanggang Nov. 2, 2021," Año announced during the task force's meeting aired on Wednesday.

[Translation: To commemorate Undas, the IATF released guidelines to close cemeteries, memorial parks, and columbaria from Oct. 29 to Nov. 2.]

Año said cemeteries, memorial parks, and columbaria can open at 30% capacity on other days.

He added that local officials must also pass an ordinance to implement this policy.