In anticipation of the influx of thousands of people to the cemeteries to remember their departed loved ones on November 1 and 2, the City’s Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases is planning to enforce the use of quarantine passes to control mass gatherings amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo, Chairperson of the City IATF-MEID, will convene the Task Force next week to propose the schedules for every barangay and even those who will be coming from other towns and cities.
Representatives of the Catholic Church and management of the cemeteries will also be invited.
Dumaguete City has about 2 public and 5 private cemeteries whose management must also be consulted to finalize the plan and ensure its efficient implementation.
Mayor Remollo noted that the remembrance of the dead is among the most enduring tradition for Roman Catholics, thus it would be impossible to deprive the people of the chance to observe this solemn occasion.
Thus, to balance tradition and the need to observe health protocols, amid the present day threat of COVID-19, it would be prudent to adopt measures like closing all the cemeteries on All Saints and All Souls Day to prevent the convergence of large crowds; Holy Masses and blessing of the tombs can still be performed by the priests and encouraging the people to visit the graves of their loved ones two weeks earlier than Nov. 1 and 2 or two weeks after.
Besides, if the city is still under Modified General Community Quarantine this November, all those ageing 21 years-old and below and senior citizens are prohibited from going out of their homes.
Police officers and barangay watchmen will be deployed to conduct checkpoints to regulate the influx of people to ensure that only those with quarantine passes will be allowed to enter the cemeteries.