Año defends 4-day closure of cemeteries, memorial parks, columbaria ahead of 'Undas' 2021

Published October 29, 2021, 9:07 AM

by Chito Chavez

Ahead of the observation of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day on Nov. 1 and 2, the four-day closure of all cemeteries, memorial parks, and columbaria nationwide beginning Friday, Oct. 29, did not sit well with some stakeholders who branded it as “incomprehensible.”

DILG Sec. Eduardo Año (Photo from PCOO)

However, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año shrugged off the criticisms as he maintained that the precautionary measure was meant to prevent a potential superspreader event of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as millions usually visit their dearly departed during “Undas.”

“It serves the purpose like last year. Traditionally people converge at the cemeteries on Oct. 29 to Nov. 2 and most especially on Nov. 1 which will surely result to super spreader events,’’ Año pointed out.

One of those opposing the closure of cemeteries and similar places is a Navotas City fish dealer who said that the government merely transfers the huge crowds in the cemeteries on days other than Oct. 29 to Nov. 2.

“The cemeteries are still crowded just like the days on Oct. 30, Nov. 1 and Nov. 2 in the pre-pandemic years. The four-day closure led people to being clustered on other days. Hindi ko lang mainintindihan ito (It is just incomprehensible),’’ the fish dealer who requested anonymity said.

By closing the cemeteries from Oct. 29 to Nov. 2, Año insisted that people will visit the cemeteries in different dates which can be regulated and controlled by local government units (LGUs) at an allowed capacity.

The DILG chief also noted that there is no problem if the closure goes beyond four days as ordered by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) with Davao City closing its cemeteries from Oct. 24 to Nov. 7.

“Okay lang sumobra, huwag lang bawasan. Minimum ang Oct. 29 to Nov. 2 (It’s alright to exceed but do not shorten it. The minimum date is from Oct. 29 to Nov. 2),’’ he added.