BY MARCHEL P. ESPINA
Cemeteries in Negros Occidental will be closed Oct. 30 to Nov. 2 during the observance of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day to ensure that there will be no mass gatherings as cases of the coronavirus continue to rise.
Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson signed Tuesday an executive order imposing the temporary closure of all public and private memorial parks, cemeteries, and columbaries in the province from 12:01 a.m. of October 30 to 11:59 p.m. of November 2.
Under the EO that was released yesterday, Lacson noted the rising cases of Covid-19 in the province, and because of this, there is a compelling reason to regulate the operation of all memorial parks, cemeteries, and columbaries during the yearly “undas” observance.
In order to sustain the efforts of the province to contain the spread of the virus, there is an urgent need to prohibit the influx of people to avoid mass gathering and possible transmission of the virus, the governor said.
All component cities and municipalities of Negros Occidental are directed to comply and implement the EO through their respective Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, Traffic Management Authority with the assistance of the Philippine National Police and force multipliers.
Violators will face appropriate administrative and criminal charges, the EO said.
Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia said Wednesday that he will soon issue a directive regarding the observance of “undas” in the city.
“I see the rationale of the statement of Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año that public and private memorial parks and cemeteries must be closed on the days when we traditionally visit our beloved departed,” the mayor said in a press release.
While the city government may allow visits before Oct. 31 and after Nov. 3 in controlled and restricted numbers, it is to the best interest of public safety and welfare to prohibit mass gatherings, Leonardia added.*