Metro Manila mayors have agreed to close all public, private cemeteries and columbaria in the National Capital Region (NCR) from October 29 to November 4 to ensure that there will be no mass gathering in graveyards to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

09122020 MANILASOUTH  ROMERO 1024x683 - Cemeteries in NCR closed from Oct. 29 to Nov. 4; cremation, interment allowed
Relatives start to visit their departed loved ones days ahead before Undas 2020 at Manila South Cemetery. (Jansen Romero / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

But Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez, the chairman of the Metro Manila Council (MMC) said interment and cremation services will be allowed in the days that the cemeteries and columbaria are closed in observance of All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day.

“For the past six months, rapid cremation has drastically increased not only in Metro Manila but in the country during this COVID-19 pandemic. Because of this, cremation facilities located inside the private and public cemetery should be open during this six-day closure,” Olivarez said.

The mayor added that some cremation facilities in the metropolis has been conducting seven to 10 cremations a day, since the contamination from the virus started in March.

Olivarez said under existing guidelines, local government units should ensure that COVID-19 patients who perished are cremated within 12 hours.

Crematorium personnel must also report to work on holidays and during the temporary closure of the facility.

The mayor also advised those who will visit cemeteries before and after the said dates to wear face shields and face masks.

Olivarez appealed to the public to pray for the souls of their deceased loved ones from the confines of their home or visit their graves before or after the closure dates.

“We encourage them to visit the cemetery on a spread time. One month before or one month after Undas for us to still implement our physical distancing,” he pointed out.

Olivarez has ordered the temporary closure of four public and private cemeteries and columbaria in the city.

The Manila Memorial Park and Loyola Memorial Park both located in Sucat Road and private cemetery and the Parañaque Catholic Cemetery along Tramo Road and the Parañaque (Palanyag) Public Cemetery are among those that will be closed.

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