MANILA - Incoming president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David appealed to local government officials to allow relatives of COVID-19 victims to visit their graves during this year's observance of All Saints Day and All Souls Day.
In a Facebook post on Friday, David asked city and town mayors to issue special permits for those who experienced deaths in their family between 2020 and 2021 so that they can visit cemeteries this coming Undas.
Millions of Filipinos visit the graves of their dead family members from the end of October to November 2 with its climax during November 1 during which they offer flowers, candles, and prayers.
However, to prevent the spread of coronavirus, the government ordered cemeteries across the nation to be closed during Undas to avoid potential superspreader events.
"They have not even been given the chance to grieve yet as families," the bishop said.
David suggested that qualified people may present a death certificate of their loved ones so that they may be issued a special COVID pass to visit cemeteries and columbaries.
In 2020, Filipinos were also barred from visiting cemeteries and columbaries during Undas. Religious services also remained restricted with only few attendees allowed in various places of worship to avoid potential spread of the deadly virus.
David, who has been bishop of Caloocan since 2016, was elected as new CBCP president last July 2021. He will officially sit on his new post in December, succeeding Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles.