MMC awaits IATF approval of cemetery closure dates - MMDA official

The Metro Manila Council (MMC) is still waiting for Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to approve the proposed dates on the closure of cemeteries in Metro Manila during this year’s “Undas” season, an official from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said Thursday.

MMDA General Manager Jose Arturo Garcia said the metro mayors have recently agreed to temporarily close down all public and private cemeteries in the National Capital Region (NCR) for a week to prevent mass gathering of people at cemeteries during Undas.

However, the MMDA official noted that it is up to the IATF to decide on which date that the cemeteries will be closed.

“Ang dates na lang po ang hinihintay namin na i-approve ng IATF, either October 29 to November 4 or October 28 to November 3 (We are just waiting for the dates that IATF will approve, either October 29 to November 4 or October 28 to November 3),” Garcia said during the Laging Handa press briefing.

The MMC, composed of 17 mayors of 16 cities and one municipality in Metro Manila, is the policy-making body of the MMDA.

Although cemeteries will be closed during the said dates, Garcia noted that burial and cremation services will continue.

“Yung mga services like libing or may ike-cremate, tuloy lang po ‘yan. Ang ipinagbabawal lang ay ‘yung pagbisita (Services like burial and cremation will continue. The only thing that is prohibited is the visitation),” he said.

The cities of Manila, Mandaluyong, Marikina, Valenzuela, Parañaque, and San Juan earlier issued orders on the closure of all private and public cemeteries in their respective turfs on November 1 and 2.

In Marikina City, the local government will implement regulated visits at cemeteries from October 15 to November 30.

Cemetery administrators were also ordered to limit the number of visitors by issuing a one-time cemetery pass based on the preferred day of visit.

Meanwhile, the San Juan City government has banned “Trick or Treat” and other forms of Halloween activities in the city during All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.

The city government deemed it necessary to prohibit the conduct of all Halloween activities to prevent the public, especially children, from gathering and going out of their homes amidst the threat of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In his executive order, Mayor Francis Zamora said “Halloween activities are allowed to be conducted in the confines of one’s own home, provided that social distancing and other precautionary measures are complied with.”