Malacañang reminded local government units to close cemeteries from Oct. 29 to Nov. 4 as ordered by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after Ilocos Norte Gov. Matthew Joseph Manotoc said that public and private cemeteries in his province will remain open during the observance of the All Souls' and All Saints' Days.
In a press briefing, Roque said he was not aware of what Ilocos Norte was planning to do but he reminded them that their actions have consequences.
"Alam na ng mga lokal na opisyales ang posibleng repercussion kapag hindi po sumunod dito sa direktiba ng IATF (The local chief executives are aware of the possible repercussion if they will not follow the directive of the IATF)," he said.
"Ang DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government) naman po ay nakaupo rin sa IATF at ang suhestyon na isarado ang mga sementaryo ay iminungkahi nga mismo ni (The DILG is part of the IATF and the suggestion to close down cemeteries was made by) DILG Secretary Eduardo Año," he added.
Manotoc said Ilocanos are expected to flock to the cemeteries since remembering and honoring the dead is a tradition that is deeply rooted in their culture.
The Ilocos Norte governor said they will post visitation hours to regulate overcrowding in memorial parks and public cemeteries.
Malacañang announced last Sept. 18 that all public and private cemeteries, memorial parks, and columbariums in the country will be closed to visitors from Oct. 29 to Nov. 4 to prevent the spread of COVID-19 during Undas.
All cemeteries, memorial parks, and columbariums in the entire country will be open to the public from Sept. 17 to Nov. 15, except during the week-long closure, but only at a maximum of 30 percent of the venue's capacity.
Age restrictions currently being implemented will likewise not apply to visitors to these places from Sept. 17 to Nov. 15.
Visitors will be required to wear face masks and face shields and to observe physical distancing.