Filipinos could no longer practice the annual traditions for Undas 2020 as the National Task Force against COVID-19 would recommend prohibiting the public from going to cemeteries amid the pandemic.
Testing czar and deputy chief implementer of the national policy against COVID-19 Vince Dizon said the decision is not yet final, and concerned government agencies would still discuss the recommendation.
“‘Yung specifics kung ano ‘yung guidelines, ‘di ko pa masasabi ngayon. Definitely, ang irerekomenda ng NTF is ‘yung ating kinagawian na pagpupunta ng maraming tao sa sementeryo, hindi natin ‘yan puwedeng gawin ngayong 2020 dahil sa COVID-19,” Dizon said.
“Ngayon, kung ano ‘yung magiging guidelines, kung sarado ba ang sementeryo, ‘yan po ay idi-discuss pa,” he added.
Manila Mayor Isko Moreno earlier decided to close all public and private cemeteries in the city during the Undas 2020 holidays, which is from October 31 to November 3.
Moreno inked Executive Order No. 38, ordering the temporary closure of the cemeteries over the Undas holidays to stop the spread of the respiratory disease.
“Kung mabisang dumami ang coronavirus ay dahil ‘yun sa ating pakikihalubilo, siksikan, sama-sama sa isang lugar,” Moreno said.
“Para maiwasan natin ang patuloy na paglago ng coronavirus through this situation ay pansamantala ko po itong isasara,” he added.
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Undas 2020 amid pandemic
The Manila Mayor asked the public for understanding, saying he made the announcement early to give the public time to visit their loved ones before closing the cemeteries during Undas 2020.
“Kaya ko po ito ginagawa ngayon ay para mabigyan kayo ng sapat na panahon sa loob na humigit kumulang na dalawang buwan simula ngayon na mabisita ang inyong mga mahal sa buhay na nahimlay,” Moreno said.
He said around 1.5 million people visit Manila South Cemetery alone. In 2019, the visitors in the Manila North Cemetery reached 500,000.
Meanwhile, Dizon said the NTF respects and admires the move of Moreno.
“Sa City of Manila, nirerespeto natin at hinahangaan natin ang desisyon, ang matapang na desisyon ni Mayor Isko para sa City of Manila,” Dizon said.
As of September 8, the Philippines has 52,893 active cases of COVID-19 after recording 185,178 recoveries and 3,916 deaths.