Davao cemeteries to be closed for 2 weeks

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 21 October) – All public and private cemeteries in Davao City will be closed for two weeks, from October 24 to November 7, to avoid crowds that may cause massive spread of COVID-19 as people are expected to visit their deceased loved ones in observance of All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days.

The Roman Catholic Cemetery in Davao City, MindaNews file photo

Dr. Michelle Schlosser, spokesperson for the Davao City COVID-19 Task Force, told Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) that the activities permitted within the closure period include burial rites, birthday celebrations for the deceased family members, 40th day memorial service, and death anniversaries.

She said the public may visit the cemeteries before or after the closure period.

She added that individuals belonging to the vulnerable sector such as minors aged below 15 and senior citizens 65 years old and above who are immediate kin of the dead would be allowed to enter the cemeteries before or after this period.

“They should provide an identification that they are indeed members of immediate family members of the deceased,” she said.

Mayor Sara Duterte told DCDR 87.5 last October 5 that the guidelines under Executive Order 52 or an “order regulating the operations of funeral parlors cemeteries, memorial parks, and columbarium” issued last year would remain effective.

The order has implemented a “Family Members Only” policy during wakes and burials. The family in charge of the wake and burial must ensure that there will be no mass gathering among the family members and health protocols such as wearing face masks and physical distancing are observed, and that they should bring hand sanitizers or alcohol-based hand rub.

The family members present must not exceed 50 percent of the room where the casket is located, and they must also keep a record of the date and time of their visit for contact tracing.

Under Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases Resolution 144-D issued October 18, Davao City has been placed under Alert Level 3, along with Davao del Norte until October 31.

According to the resolution, Alert Level 3 refers to areas where case counts are high and/or increasing, with increasing total bed and intensive care unit utilization rates.

Davao de Oro, Davao del Sur, and Davao Oriental are under Alert Level 2 and Davao Occidental under Alert Level 4. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)