MANILA – Marikina City residents would be allowed to visit their departed loves ones in cemeteries and memorial parks in the city before and after the All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.

“We will provide a window of opportunity for those who want to visit from Oct. 15 to Nov. 30,” Mayor Marcelino Teodoro said in a statement on Friday.

Teodoro has ordered the administrators of four cemeteries in the city to issue a cemetery pass to every household and set a visiting schedule, in a bid to limit the crowding of the people in the burial places.

“For you to visit, you need to get a one-time cemetery pass from the cemetery administration and we will set a maximum capacity on the number of people allowed to enter the cemetery at a given time,” he said.

The city government said the temporary closure covers all public and private cemeteries including Loyola Memorial Park, Our Lady of Abandoned (OLA) Cemetery, Aglipay Cemetery, and Barangka Municipal Cemetery.

In Resolution No. 72, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) announced that all cemeteries and columbariums in the country would be closed from Oct. 29 to Nov. 4 to prevent the spread of Covid-19 during the observance of ‘Undas’ season.

“We know that the threat of Covid-19 will not go away and the viral transmission can be heightened or that there will be more cases if there is mass gathering especially when our countrymen visit the graves of their bereaved loved ones,” he said. “We cannot just stop them because it is a religious practice and a cultural practice, and it will be very difficult if something that has been practiced for a long time will suddenly be stopped”

The city government would only allow 30-percent visitor capacity in cemeteries to prevent overcrowding and congestion.

Residents can start processing the cemetery pass beginning October 1, he said.

“After processing their cemetery pass, they will also get a schedule when they will use the cemetery pass. The cemetery pass will be one-time use only,” he added.

Teodoro reiterated only individuals aging 21 to 59 years old are allowed to go out to their house premises, under the directive of the IATF-EID.

Residents are also prohibited from setting up tents and bringing food inside the cemeteries. (PNA)

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