Pinoys allowed to go on group cemetery visits despite COVID-19 threat

The entrance to the Manila South Cemetery. <i>Photo: Wikicommons</i>
The entrance to the Manila South Cemetery. Photo: Wikicommons

The Duterte government’s Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases has allowed Filipinos to visit cemeteries in groups of up to 10 people, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said today.

The new rule is being implemented in areas under the general community quarantine (GCQ), which includes Metro Manila. Residents of Cebu City meanwhile, which is under the stricter enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), are not allowed the same privilege.

“The IATF  has added a new provision allowing visits to open memorial parks and cemeteries but it should be limited to 10 [people] per group,” Roque said in English and Filipino in a virtual presser.

Roque said that visitors will still have to observe social distancing and wear face masks, and the IATF will leave it to the owners of cemeteries to decide how many groups are allowed to visit their properties.  

“The number of groups allowed at any given time are left under the discretion of memorial parks and cemeteries’ management as long as minimum health standards and social distancing will be considered,” the spokesman said.

Read: 12 things you didn’t know about Metro Manila’s cemeteries

Filipinos are known to visit cemeteries in droves on Nov. 1 to pay respects to their dead. Observers have attributed the large turnout to our penchant for festivities, our Catholic obligation, and our deep-rooted desire to be with family.
Despite the continued rise of coronavirus cases in the country, the government has eased quarantines in most areas in the Philippines in a bid to reopen the economy amid the pandemic, after President Rodrigo Duterte put the country under lockdown for nearly three months. Besides Cebu City, the rest of the country has been downgraded to the more lenient modified ECQ, GCQ, and modified GCQ.
To date, the country has 33,069 confirmed cases, with 1,212 deaths and 8,910 recoveries.

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