Manila Bishop urges gov't to leave cemetery closure to LGUs

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 10 2020 12:02 PM

Bro. Marthy Silubrico CSSR works on a painting for the Baclaran Church in Parañaque City on September 02, 2020. The artworks will be placed near the church altar to show the Redemptorist church’s participation in honoring frontliners as well as support for the vulnerable who are affected in the pandemic. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Manila’s top bishop on Thursday urged the government to leave the decision to close down cemeteries on All Souls and All Saints’ Days to the local government units (LGU).

“Yung sa mga cities ok lang pero kung gawin sa buong bansa ibang mga sementeryo sa barangay kokonti lang ang pumupunta kahit November 1 at November 2. Bakit hindi na lang ibigay yan sa mga local LGUs depende sa sitwasyon ng kanilang lugar,” Manila Apostolic Administrator Bishop Broderick Pabillo said. 

The traditional annual visit to the cemeteries usually draws millions.

“Hindi naman pinagbabawalan ang tao na pumunta sa sementeryo pero I spread out ang kanilang pagpunta ‘di tulad ng nakaugalian natin na dagsaan sa November 1 at November 2 kaya talagang malaking posibilidad na lumaki yung virus,” Pabillo said.

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno recently announced that the city will close cemeteries from Oct. 31 to Nov. 3 to prevent the possible spread of the virus.

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said all Metro Mayors have agreed to close cemeteries in their cities during the observance of Undas due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Pabillo meanwhile urged the Catholic faithful to also turn to prayers to remember their departed loved ones.

“Pumupunta sa sementeryo para magdasal, dalawin, maala-ala yung mga yumao natin na mahal sa buhay. Pwede naman nating gawin yan sa simbahan. Kaya during this time yung mga tao pwedeng mag simba sila lalong-lalo na ang Nov. 1, araw ng linggo at doon nating alalahanin yung mga namatay. Pagdasal natin sila, magtirik ng kandila sa mga bahay natin,” he said.

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Pabillo also urged the government to increase the number of people allowed to visit churches. He assured that churches abide by the minimum health protocols imposed by the government.

“Yan ang hinihingi natin. Kung ang restaurant 30 percent, bakit ang simbahan 10 percent lang? Pag nasa simbahan ka nandoon ka lang sa pwesto mo hindi ka paikot-ikot,” he said.

Churchgoers also wear face masks and faceshields while inside the church.

“Lalo na ngayon sinasabi maraming mental health problems at nakakatulong pag nagdarasal sila. Handa naman kaming tumulong pero hayaan ang mga taong lumapit,” he said.

As of Wednesday, the Philippines logged 245,143 cases of COVID-19 with 55,614 active cases. Of the total, 185,543 recovered and 3,986 died.