Personnel from the Muntinlupa police, together with an augmentation group from the Regional Mobile Force Battalion (RMFB) of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), are now deployed in different public and private cemeteries in the city to implement the ban on visits by the public during “Undas” (All Saints’ Day).
Mayor Jaime Fresnedi had earlier signed Ordinance 2021-279 (Restriction in Undas Celebration), passed by the Muntinlupa City Council, which ordered the closure of all memorial parks, cemeteries, ossuaries and columbaria in Muntinlupa from Oct. 29 to Nov. 2 to avoid the possible rise in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.
Under the ordinance, “The management/owner administrators of public and private memorial parks, cemeteries, ossuaries, and columbarium shall be imposed a Five Hundred Pesos (P500) fine for every individual who will enter the premises during the period of restriction.”
Police Col. Melecio Buslig Jr., Muntinlupa police chief, issued a memorandum on Oct. 28 deploying police personnel to six cemeteries in Muntinlupa: Everest Hills Memorial Park, New Bilibid Prison (NBP)/Japanese Cemetery, Aguilar Cemetery, Aglipayan Cemetery, public cemetery in Brgy. Putatan and San Nicolas de Tolentino Cemetery.
Police have set up Philippine National Police Help Desks while others will conduct patrolling in cemeteries, banks, and transport terminals.
“Threat Groups and criminal elements/gangs might take advantage of the situation to carry out their criminal activities while PNP is engaged in operations supporting the fight against COVID-19),” Buslig cautioned police personnel in his memorandum.
Before the Muntinlupa ordinance was passed, the Metro Manila Council (MMC), composed of Metro Manila mayors, issued Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Resolution 21-22 urging local government units in Metro Manila to enact ordinances or pass resolutions restricting access of the public to cemeteries from Oct. 29 to Nov. 2 “to avoid mass gatherings and thereby complement the efforts exerted by the Metro Manila Mayors in controlling the spread of COVID-19 in the National Capital Region (NCR).”
“Undas is a traditional Filipino Holiday where family and friends reunite in cemeteries, memorial parks and columbaria to celebrate the memory of departed loved ones,” the Muntinlupa ordinance read.
It added, “Although the Department of Health (DOH) reported a general decrease in COVID-19 active cases in the National Capital region (NCR) on account of rapid and efficient detect and isolate strategies and enhanced vaccination efforts, nonetheless, avoiding mass gatherings and continued practice of safety and health protocols is encouraged to avoid a future rise in active cases.”