President Rodrigo Duterte said Tuesday he was hoping for a peaceful observance of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day on Nov. 1 and 2, respectively.
“I expect a peaceful celebration of the All Saints’ Day and the All Souls’ Day,” he said in a pre-recorded speech.
He made the statement even as The Philippine National Police deployed around 12,000 policemen in the cemeteries and columbariums across the country to enforce minimum health standards for the annual observance of All Saints’ Day.
Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, commander of the Joint Task Force Covid Shield, said aside from the policemen, around 17,000 force multipliers had also been deployed in those areas.
“We are focusing on the observance of the health protocols, which is being implemented by our LGUs,” Eleazar said in a Laging Handa press briefing on Tuesday.
Duterte reminded the public to follow the rules when visiting their departed, such as avoiding bringing liquor and bladed weapons.
“May you have a safe celebration of the All Saints’ Day and just follow the rules for your own good,” he said.
Earlier, the Joint Task Force Covid Shield ordered all police commanders to ensure the compliance of all cemeteries, memorial parks and columbariums with quarantine rules in opening their doors to visitors ahead of the annual observance of All Saints’ Day.
Eleazar said they would enforce strict and proper observation of the minimum health safety protocols such as the wearing face masks and face shields and physical distancing.
Based on the guidelines, the number of visitors in cemeteries, memorial parks and columbariums will be limited to 30 percent of the venue capacity, and all visitors must wear a face mask and face shield and observe physical distancing.
No age restrictions will be implemented on visitors in cemeteries.
The same guidelines order the closure of all cemeteries, memorial parks and columbariums from Oct. 29 to Nov. 4.
In September, Metro Manila agreed to temporarily close cemeteries, memorial parks and columbariums on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 to 3 as a precaution against the coronavirus disease 2019.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines encouraged the faithful to offer prayers through Holy Masses.