MAYOR Isko Moreno called on the residents of Manila not to pay their departed loved ones a visit at the last minute in order to avoid crowd surges, as he lauded Manila North Cemetery Director Yayay Castaneda for having the makeshift ladders, which are used to take undue advantage of visitors, removed from the said cemetery.
Through Executive Order No. 33, Moreno announced that from October 29 to November 3, 2021, all public and private memorial parks, cemeteries and columbaries in the city of Manila will be closed temporarily in order to avoid possible COVID spreader gatherings.
In her report to Moreno, Castaneda said that seven such ladders were confiscated by her office, in coordination with Manila Police District-Station 3 Commander Col. John Guiagui.
The said makeshift ladders were abandoned by their owners and destroyed upon seizure.
Castaneda told the mayor that the said ladders were strategically situated and were put up against the walls of the cemetery by enterprising individuals who charge cemetery-goers P50 per head. The said ladders are used as shortcuts, considering how big the cemetery is.
Moreno meanwhile said that he had taken the effort to announce the temporary closure of all cemeteries, memorial parks and columbaries in the city as early as September precisely to entice those who have departed loved ones to visit their dead early.
Similarly, Manilans were also given much time to start early in sprucing up their relatives’ tombs and niches, particularly at the Manila North Cemetery (MNC) and the Manila South Cemetery (MSC), in preparation for the forthcoming All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day observance. The MNC is the biggest in the country while the MSC also records millions of visitors every year during ‘Undas’.
Moreno directed Manila North Cemetery chief Yayay Castaneda, Manila South Cemetery head Jess Payad and Manila Muslim Cemetery chief Dr. Arnold Pangan, concurrently Manila Health Department head, to ensure full compliance of his executive order.
Too, the mayor tasked the Manila Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (MDRRMO) headed by Arnel Angeles, Department of Public Services (DPS) under its chief Kenneth Amurao and the Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau (MTPB) headed by Director Dennis Viaje to assist in keeping the order in the said cemeteries specially the Manila North Cemetery.
Under the order, only interment and cremation services for non-COVID 19 cases shall be allowed subject to the strict observance of minimum public health standards and social distancing as provided for by existing Inter-Agency Task Force rules and regulations. Stricter measures will be in full force to make sure that the required physical distancing and wearing of face masks are observed to the letter and that there will be no huge mass gatherings and crowd surges that could contribute to mass transmission of the coronavirus.
Moreno said the visiting public is also advised to refrain from bringing in alcoholic and other intoxicating drinks, bladed weapons and guns inside the cemeteries, even as all forms of gambling are also prohibited.