Davao declares period of mourning for virus deaths

There is nothing but emptiness in the Sangguniang Panlungsod and San Pedro Cathedral area in downtown Davao City. MindaNews photo taken 16 April 2020 by MANMAN DEJETO

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 17 April) — The city government has declared April 17 to December 31 this year a period of mourning and vigilance, prohibiting extravagant celebrations in deference to the people who have died from the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) whose number has reached over 143,000.

In Executive Order No. 25 released on Friday, Mayor Sara Duterte emphasized the need to show sympathy for the families of frontliners who have succumbed to the battle against COVID-19 and empathy for those who are suffering and will continue to suffer the aftereffects of the pandemic.

Duterte added the declaration is necessary to instill constant obedience to the rules and measures set to contain the spread of the deadly virus, and that vigilance is an essential step to protect families and communities.

“Being vigilant also means recognizing the sacrifices of the frontliners,” she said.

EO 25 provides that city and national government celebrations, parties, anniversaries, and festivities shall be cancelled; commemoration of important dates and legal holidays should be kept short and must be in somber tone; all barangays shall refrain from extravagant celebration of their fiesta while all founding anniversaries/araw ng barangay celebrations will be cancelled.

It added private parties to mark personal or family milestones should be kept low key and modest, meaning a celebration in a public place with no more than 25 guests, while those who want to pursue big celebrations may do so next year.

The private sector is likewise advised to adhere to the requirements, recommending food distribution, feeding program or financial assistance to their employees in place of grandiose celebrations to mark their important events, it said.

Duterte warned the local government would take legal actions citing that Article 25 of the Civil Code provides that “thoughtless extravagance in expenses for pleasure or display during a period of acute public want or emergency may be stopped by order of the courts at the instance of any government or private charitable institution.” (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)