Metro Manila mayors have agreed to close public and private cemeteries and columbaria across the city for All Saints Day, or Undas 2020. Metro Manila Council Chair and Paranaque Mayor Edwin Olivarez says the decision is to prevent mass gatherings and the spread of COVID-19 as the cases in NCR continues to rise.
The initial plan was to close cemeteries from Oct. 29 to Nov. 1 but according to MMDA, the Inter-Agency Task Force is yet to decide on the specific time and dates for the implementation.
Last year’s Undas saw thousands of people flocking the country’s cemeteries to visit their departed loved ones. Manila North Cemetery clocked at least 340,100 visitors, Manila South Cemetery saw 75,958, La Loma Cemetery had 9,900, and Chinese Cemetery had at least 3,000.
Here’s what you can do instead
This year, instead of observing the Undas tradition exactly on Nov. 1, Olivarez and Metro Manila mayors are encouraging Filipinos to visit cemeteries before or after the holidays. He also reminded visitors to make sure to wear their face masks and face shields and observe proper social distancing.
“We encourage them to visit the cemetery on a spread time,” Olivares said in an interview with CNN Philippines. “One month before or one month after Undas para ma-implement pa rin po ang ating physical distancing.”
If you’re not one to break tradition, you can consider going to cemeteries any date in October or November to offer flowers, prayers, and candles for your loved ones. You can also opt to stay at home, gather with your family online, and continue the tradition from there. Hopefully, when everything goes back to normal next year, you’ll get to observe Undas the usual way.
To make sure everyone is following protocol, Olivarez also mentioned that cemeteries will have stationed police personnel, marshals, and barangay officers.
As of Sept. 13, there are 261,216 cases in the Philippines, 49,277 of which are active cases.
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