The interior and local department has directed local government units (LGUs) and police commanders to ensure that all cemeteries, memorial parks, columbariums in the country will be closed from October 29 to November 4 as ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte.

In a press statement released Tuesday, Department of the Interior and Local Government Sec. Eduardo Año said despite the decreasing COVID-19 cases, especially in Manila, the danger due to the pandemic has not yet passed and LGUs must ensure that there will be no mass gatherings in these areas.

He said LGUs and local police commanders are expected “to be fully accountable in managing all cemeteries within their jurisdictions”.

“September pa lang po nagbigay na ng kautusan ang Pangulo. We expect all LGUs to cooperate by ensuring that cemeteries within their localities are closed. Ito’y para walang mass gathering ngayong panahon ng pandemya,” Año said in the statement.

Año also directed all police commanders across the country to help ensure that all cemeteries, memorial parks, and columbariums are compliant to quarantine rules, as the early All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day commemorations start and people flock to cemeteries ahead of the closure.

He directed all police units to enforce the strict and proper observation of minimum health and safety standard protocols, such as the wearing of face masks and face shields and physical distancing to those going to the cemeteries early.

“The local police commanders and the mayors by now should have discussed the rules that would be implemented per locality but all these local rules that would be crafted should conform to the guidelines set by the IATF,” he said.

He reminded all LGUs that the number of visitors in cemeteries, memorial parks, and columbariums shall be limited to only 30 percent of the venue’s capacity, with all those entering required to wear face masks and face shields and observe physical distancing.

Año also said that PNP assistance desks must be set up at the entrance of cemeteries and columbariums and police officers must do regular foot patrol in order to ensure that IATF regulations on the number of people are followed.

He said that Undas this year will be different from the usual observance and asks the public for their consideration and patience since the health crisis is not yet over.

“The DILG is one with the Filipino people in remembering our deceased loved ones in the coming All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Days. During the pandemic, we are asking for the people’s cooperation by not going to the cemeteries, staying at home from October 29 to November 4, 2020, and visiting their departed relatives days before or weeks after the closure,” he said.

“Maaari naman pong makadalaw sa mga sementeryo ang ating mga kababayan kahit anong edad bago o matapos ang itinakda at ipinagbabawal na mga araw. Ito naman po ay para rin sa kabutihan ng nakararami,” he ended.