Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso has ordered the closure of all public and private cemeteries in the city from Saturday, October 31, to Tuesday, November 3.
In a live briefing, Domagoso said he had signed Executive Order 38, ordering the temporary closure of the cemeteries over the ‘undas’ holidays to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Domagoso asked for understanding from the public, adding he issued the announcement early to give them time to visit their loved ones before the closure.
The mayor said he made the early announcement to enable the surviving kin to visit the resting places of their departed loved ones during the next more or less two months the graveyards would be closed.
Domagoso said the Manila North Cemetery, which contains 105,837 graves, has an estimated visitor count of 1.5 million while the Manila South Cemetery, which contains 39,228 graves, is estimated to have 800,000 visitors.
In 2019, the visitors in the Manila North Cemetery reached about half a million.
However, Domagoso said that should all COVID-19 cases in the city recover by October 31 or should a vaccine arrive before the designated date, he would rescind the order.
Domagoso apologized if in the process some relatives of the dead would be hurt by the closure particularly during All Saints Day and All Souls Day.
He said residents of the national capital were under General Community Quarantine, which meant times there were when the residents would need to practice social or physical distance, be unruly in a thick line just to be ab le to visit the resting places of departed loved ones.