MANILA – Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte reminded the public on Monday that cemeteries are sacred places to honor the departed, not garbage dumps and should therefore be kept trash free.
The city government partnered with advocate group EcoWaste Coalition to ensure the cleanliness of cemeteries and their surroundings as the nation commemorates All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day on November 1 and 2, respectively.
As early as Monday, a non-working holiday like November 1, visitors have started to flock to cemeteries.
“We appeal to the general public to keep the cemeteries free of litter for the health, safety, and convenience of everyone. Keeping our cemeteries litter-free is not only pleasing to the eyes but also a good way to show our awareness and responsibility towards the environment,” Belmonte said in a message sent to the Philippine News Agency.
To ward off the risk of contracting Covid-19 and other diseases, the "no face mask, no entry" policy shall be enforced in all the city’s cemeteries.
The city government also encouraged visitors not to bring children aged 12, especially if unvaccinated, and for those who have Covid-19 symptoms to postpone their visit.
Until November 5, Bagbag Cemetery and Novaliches Cemetery will open at 6 a.m. and close at 9 p.m.
Interment in the public cemeteries is suspended from October 28 to November 2.
Firearms and sharp objects, alcoholic beverages and liquors, gambling paraphernalia, and high-volume speakers are prohibited.
Aside from law enforcers and security personnel, there will be medical posts and ambulances on standby.
On Sunday, city government teams led by the Task Force Disiplina inspected the Novaliches Public Cemetery, Bagbag Public Cemetery, Holy Cross Cemetery and Himlayang Pilipino Memorial Park.
'New normal' observance in Marikina
Meanwhile, the Marikina City government has released guidelines and policies to ensure the safe and orderly observance of Undas 2022 or All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Mayor Marcelino Teodoro personally inspected all five cemeteries in the city and he was accompanied by the local police and key city hall officials.
The five cemeteries situated in Marikina are Loyola Memorial Park, Barangka Municipal Cemetery, Aglipay Cemetery, Holy Child Cemetery, and Our Lady of the Abandoned Cemetery.
“Hinihikayat natin ang publiko na magsuot pa rin ng face mask, mag-social distancing, at sumunod sa iba pang mga health at safety protocols na ipinapatupad sa mga sementeryo para manatiling ligtas ang paggunita ng Undas ngayong taon (We encourage the public to still wear face mask, practice social distancing, and follow other health and safety protocols implemented in cemeteries so that the commemoration of Undas remains safe this year),” Teodoro said in a statement.
Teodoro also noted that the staff and personnel of cemeteries in the city have been fully vaccinated and have also received their booster shots.
Medical personnel are also on standby in all five cemeteries in the city to provide necessary medical attention during emergencies.
Teodoro also urged visitors to follow the necessary policies and guidelines imposed by cemetery administrators.
Selling of flowers, candles and other merchandise is allowed in the vicinity of the cemeteries provided they are located inside the seller’s property and not on sidewalks.
Meanwhile, signage encouraging cemetery-goers to wear masks and observe minimum health standards and a list of prohibited items shall be posted at the entrances.
Meanwhile, the one-way scheme along A. Bonifacio Ave shall be implemented starting 6 a.m., Monday until 12 midnight Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022.
Health emergency personnel and public safety officers shall be located in strategic areas in the vicinity of the cemeteries.
Teodoro also reminded the public not to bring prohibited items inside cemeteries such as firearms, bladed weapons, alcoholic drinks, gambling paraphernalia, and loudspeakers.
He also urged people exhibiting Covid-like symptoms to not visit cemeteries for the safety of the public.
The city government has also opened a one-stop shop for candles and flowers at Freedom Park, located right in front of the city hall.(with Lloyd Caliwan/PNA)