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Task force to deploy cops, assistance desks in cemeteries during Undas

Task force to deploy cops, assistance desks in cemeteries during Undas

MANILA, Philippines — Ahead of Undas week, the coronavirus task force's quarantine enforcers disclosed Thursday that it will be deploying cops to man assistance desks at cemetery entrances to monitor the entry and exit of people. 

In a statement issued Thursday afternoon, Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, commander of the JTF COVID Shield, said the strict and proper observation of the minimum health safety standard protocol such as wearing of face mask and face shield and physical distancing is a non-negotiable rule that must be implemented during the pre and post-observation of Undas.

According to the guidelines set by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases, the number of visitors in cemeteries, memorial parks and columbarium shall be limited to 30% of the venue capacity, with all those entering required to observe quarantine protocols including the wearing of face masks and face shields and the observation of physical distancing.

“We leave it to the LGUs and the PNP to discuss the rules that would be implemented, but all the rules that would be crafted must be in consonance with what is prescribed by the IATF,” Eleazar said.

“On the part of the PNP, the minimum health safety standard protocols are additional rules that should be implemented aside from the usual prohibitions like bringing of liquor and bladed weapons and other materials that would encourage mass gathering."

Along with the IATF guidelines, a number of local government units, including Manila and Mandaluyong City, have already announced that all public and private cemeteries in the city will be closed from October 31 to November 3 to prevent mass gatherings on All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days.

Eleazar in his statement added that while the task force would not be imposing age restrictions on those visiting departed loved ones, anyone entering cemeteries should have no symptoms of the COVID-19 or pre-existing condition that would make them more prone to coronavirus transmission.

“We also ordered our commanders on the ground to coordinate with the LGUs for the deployment of force multipliers such as barangay tanods and Public Order and Safety personnel for regular patrol inside the cemeteries to ensure that the health safety protocols are observed,” he said.

“We in the Joint Task Force COVID Shield respect the Filipino tradition of honoring their departed loved ones. But this should be done in a way that will not compromise the health safety of our kababayan,” he added.