City allows cemetery visits
Starting today, the public is allowed to visit public and private cemeteries, memorial parks, and columbaries in Cebu City but subject to the rules and regulations of the city.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Mayor Edgardo Labella had earlier ordered the temporary closure of all public and private cemeteries, memorial parks, and columbaries within the city starting October 29 to November 4.
After the temporary closure, the visiting period will resume from November 5 to November 15.
Labella had issued an executive order (EO) yesterday establishing the guidelines on the observance of Kalag-Kalag 2020 in all public and private cemeteries, memorial parks, and columbaries within the city.
“There is a need for the City Government of Cebu to establish guidelines for people visiting the resting places of their departed loved ones prior to and after the scheduled temporary closure in order to maintain order and ensure observance of public health and safety standards,” read EO 92-A.
Per the EO, cemeteries, memorial parks, and columbaries shall only be allowed to accept visitors from 6 a.m to 6 p.m. during the dates specified, and the number of persons allowed inside these areas at any given time should not exceed 30 percent of its total capacity.
The cemetery management shall ensure that social distancing is strictly observed.
Those who wish to go to the cemeteries are required to bring their city government-issued quarantine passes (QPass), company IDs for those working in establishments and industries allowed to operate, and official IDs for authorized persons outside residences (APORs).
It is mandatory to wear face masks and face shields.
The EO added that senior citizens and those below 21 years old as well as those with immunodeficiencies, comorbidities or other health risks, and pregnant women are prohibited from visiting cemeteries, memorial parks, and columbaries.
Food and drinks/ liquor are not allowed inside and within the vicinity from September 26 to November 15. As such, it shall be prohibited for any person to bring and sell food and drinks/liquor.
It is likewise prohibited to sell candles, flowers, and such other complements inside the premises of cemeteries, memorial parks, and columbaries from September 26 to November 15.
Management of cemeteries, memorial parks, and columbaries shall disallow parking of vehicles inside their respective premises. For this purpose, the management shall designate parking areas where visitors shall park their vehicles.
“The holding of Holy Masses shall be allowed inside cemeteries, memorial parks, and columbaries. As such, only priests, their sacristan, and technical staff (for live streaming) shall be allowed entry,” Section 2 (J) read.
The Cebu City Police Office, City Health Department, Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, Cebu City Transportation Office, PROBE Team, Business Permit and Licensing Office, cemetery administrators, with the assistance of barangay officials and barangay public safety officers, are directed to implement the order.
“I appeal to our residents in Cebu City, to just comply with the minimum health protocols. This is for our own good. The virus is still very much around. We are still in quarantine, so we really have to observe for our good and for the good of our fellow beings so that we can maintain this flattening of the curve,” Labella said.
The Cebu City Police Office (CCPO), for its part, has now prepared its police deployment in the cemeteries, said Police Colonel Josefino Ligan, CCPO Chief.
“We are ready. We are allotting around 300 PNP personnel for manning the police assistance desk. It was mentioned before that dili lang siya police assistance desk but multi-agency center. Naa didto ang bombero, city disaster and of course taga barangay. So ready ta,” said Ligan.
These augmented police officers and force multipliers are dedicated to ensure that the standard minimum health protocols will be properly observed while maintaining the 30 percent capacity inside the cemeteries, he said.
Ligan said that there will be about 10 cops in each identified cemetery that will be taking turns in manning the entrance and patrols around the cemetery. —